An Air India Express flight from Dubai skidded of the runway while landing at Kozhikode airport, causing the fuselage of the aircraft to disintegrate. According to initial reports, the flight number IX1344 had 191 passengers on board, apart from 6 crew members. The flight was operating under the Vande Bharat mission during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Two persons have died in the crash, while several others are injured. The Boeing 737 aircraft overshot the runway while landing, and crash-landed on the valley below the runway. Images posted by media houses show that the aircraft was broken into two, with its cockpit part separated from the main fuselage, and was lying several feet ahead. The incident took place amid very heavy rainfall in the area around 7:40 pm. The Kozhikode airport has a tabletop runway like Mangalore airport.
According to a statement issued by DGCA, the airport was receiving heavy rains and the visibility was 2000 meters. After landing on runway 10, the aircraft could not stop due to heavy rain and water on the surface. It skidded on the runway and continued to move ahead to the end of the runway, overshot it and fell down the valley approximately 35 feet below. The Boeing 737 plane broke down in two pieces due to the impact of the steep fall. Its front section, which was separated from the rest of the plane, was damaged the most. The plane broke just in front of the wing section, and the middle and the rear part of the plane was intact. The aircraft did not catch fire after crashing. The plane had circled over the airport before landing.
According to reports, one of the two pilots in the aircraft died in the crash. Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe, a former Indian Airforce pilot, has been identified as the deceased pilot. As per latest reports, 16 people have lost their lives. Several dozen injured passengers have been admitted at hospitals. Most passengers on the flight were people returning home after losing their jobs in the gulf due to Coronavirus pandemic.
By 11.30 PM, the rescue operation was over, as informed by Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan. The evacuation was done by an NDRF team and local emergency services. All injured passengers have been shifted to hospitals in Malappuram and Kozhikode. DGCA has ordered a probe into the accident.