New Delhi, Aug 7 (efe-epa).- Sixteen people were killed Friday when a plane with 190 people aboard overshot the runway as it attempted to land in the southern Indian city of Kozhikode amid heavy rain.
“As per the flight manifest there were 190 people on flight AXB-1344, including 174 adult passengers, 10 infants, 4 cabin crew & 2 pilots. Unfortunately, 16 people have lost their lives,” Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Twitter.
“Everyone has now been rescued from the aircraft,” he added.
The Boeing 737NG, operated by Air India Express, a low-cost subsidiary of state-run Air India, was carrying Indian nationals who found themselves stranded in Dubai by Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The aircraft “overshot the runway in rainy conditions & went down 35 ft. into a slope before breaking up into two pieces,” Puri said in his first tweet on the crash in Kozhikode, also known as Calicut.
Kozhikode’s police commissioner, AV George, told Efe that at least 10 of the 105 passengers taken to hospitals in his city were listed in serious condition.
Other passengers hurt in the accident were being treated at hospitals in Malapurram, George said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was “pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode.”
“My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest,” he wrote.
The aviation minister said that relief teams from Air India and Airport Authority of India were immediately dispatched from Delhi and Mumbai.
“All efforts (are) being made to help passengers. A formal inquiry will be conducted by AAIB (Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau),” Puri said.
SN Pradhan, the director-general of India’s National Disaster Response Force, said that emergency teams were deployed for rescue and relief operations at the airport.
One of the images shared by Pradhan on Twitter showed the plane’s fuselage split in two.
The plane skidded off the runway around 7.40 pm in heavy monsoon rains.
Kozhikode Calicut International is a table-top airport, with a relatively short main runway sitting on a plateau with steep declines on both sides.
The last major passenger plane crash in the country took place in Mangalore, another table-top airport, in 2010 when an Air India Express plane overshot the runway, killing 158 of the 166 people on board.
Major air accidents are relatively rare in India, one of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world, though the monsoon can create difficult conditions for landing and takeoff.
The region has been experiencing and 15 people were killed Friday in a landslide in the hilly Idukki district of Kerala. EFE daa-ia-ssk-dr