Kozhikode flight mishap shocks whole nation, death toll rises

At least 19 persons, including the pilot and co-pilot, were killed after a Dubai-Calicut Air India Express aircraft carrying 190 passengers and crew skidded off the runway at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport and fell into a 35-feet valley before splitting into two pieces late Friday evening.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737, broke in two. The deceased include the flight commander, Deepak V Sathe, and co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar.

According to flight tracking sites, the aircraft made two attempts to land in heavy rain before touching down the third time, leading to the accident. The flight was part of the Vande Bharat repatriation mission and most passengers were stranded non-resident Keralites returning home from the UAE following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kozhikode airport was closed temporarily and all incoming flights diverted to either Kannur and Cochin international airports on Saturday, officials said, hours after an Air India Express plane from Dubai crashed while landing killing at least 20 people.

Authorities have said the Air India Express flight from Dubai to Kozhikode with 190 people on board overshot the tabletop runway at the Kozhikode on Friday night while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and snapped into two.

The nose of the aircraft and the cockpit area were completely destroyed and the fuselage had broken into two pieces. Many passengers suffered serious injuries, including to the head and fractures, due to the crash impact. Fortunately, the plane did not burst into flames.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed pain over the tragedy and said he had spoken with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. “I have instructed the police and the fire force to take urgent action in the wake of the plane crash at the Kozhikode International airport (CCJ) in Karipur,” Vijayan said