At least 17 people were killed, including the pilot and co-pilot, and around 100 injured when an Air India Express flight from Dubai skidded off the table-top runway in Kozhikode on Friday evening. The aircraft, with 190 people on board, was attempting to land in bad weather when it shot the runway around 7.40 pm and split into two after nose diving into a valley 35 feet below.
An air traffic control official at Kozhikode airport said, "It had been raining incessantly for several hours. The fight went around the airport twice and then tried to land." He said luckily the aircraft, which took off from Dubai at 2 pm and was scheduled to land in Kozhikode at 7.27 pm, didn't catch fire. "We immediately started rescue efforts with the support of local people."
The aircraft ferrying a total of 191 on-board battled heavy rains while landing. There are 174 passengers, 10 infants, 2 pilots, and 5 cabin crew onboard the aircraft.
According to a DGCA statement: “Air India Express AXB1344, B737 Dubai to Calicut, persons on board 191, visibility 2000 meter, heavy rain, after landing Runway 10, continue running to the end of the runway and fall down in the valley and broke down in two pieces.”
As per the Ministry of Civil Aviation, rescue operations are ongoing, and passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care.
Since the last 2-3 days, heavy rain and thundershower are going on over many parts of Kerala including Kozhikode. Between 08:30 am till 10:00 pm today, 57 mm of rain has already been recorded over Kozhikode.
There is a high probability that the combination of heavy rain and low clouds can obscure the runway. This could be one of the reasons for today’s Air India aircraft crash in Kozhikode.
Due to the obscurity of the runway, sometimes pilots are not able to align the aircraft properly and aircraft overshoots the runway.
The runway of Kozhikode is a tabletop runway, just off the runway is the slope. After touch down, aircraft overshot the runway and plunged into the valley 30-40 feet and broke into two pieces. The death of the pilots has been confirmed by the authorities.
The death toll of the Air India Express flight crash has reached 10, including both the pilots. At least 123 people have been injured, out of which 45 are in a critical condition.