At least 18 people are dead after an Air India Express flight overshot the runway while landing in Calicut.
On Friday, flight IX-1344 from Dubai to Calicut on the southern Indian coast was attempting to land in torrential rain when it skidded off the runway and fell into a valley, breaking in two, according to Times of India.
There were 191 people on board in total, including 10 children.
Air India Express confirmed that the two pilots were among those killed, but the four cabin crew remain safe.
The Boeing 737 made two attempts to land in heavy rain before overshooting the tabletop runway.
The flight was part of a repatriation mission with most passengers returning home after being stranded in the UAE as a result of the global pandemic.
“We will continue to bring back our stranded citizens from wherever in the world they are. I join the people of the state & every Indian in paying tribute to the 18 people who lost their lives in this air tragedy,” said Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s aviation minister, in a Tweet.
VBM will continue with the same undaunted spirit. We will continue to bring back our stranded citizens from wherever in the world they are. I join the people of the state & every Indian in paying tribute to the 18 people who lost their lives in this air tragedy.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) August 9, 2020
According to Puri, 149 people were admitted to various hospitals with three critically injured and 23 already having been discharged.
Puri also said an inquiry has been launched and the black boxes have been discovered.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he was pained by the crash.
“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 said.
“Spoke to Kerala CM @vijayanpinarayiJi regarding the situation. Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected.”
The crash bares similarities to another plane crash which took place 10 years ago in the neighbouring state of Karnataka, several local news sites have pointed out.
In 2010 an Air India Boeing 737 overshot its landing on a tabletop runway in Mangalore and exploded after falling into a valley, killing 158 people.
Travel Weekly has contacted Air India for comment.
Featured image source: Twitter/@HardeepSPuri