Aflight skidded off the runway at the Kozhikode (Calicut) International airport in Kerala, also known as the Karipur airport on Friday evening. The plane was an Air India Express aircraft part of India’s “Vande Bharat” repatriation initiative to bring back expatriates from foreign countries.
Nineteen, including forme INDIAN AIR FORCE TEST PILOT CAPTAIN DV SATHE and his co-pilot, have died while the injured are being treated at the MIMS hospital and Baby Memorial hospital in Calicut.
At least 170 of those onboard the flight, including passengers and cabin crew, have been rescued, DGCA Director-General (DG) Arun Kumar said. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan confirmed that the evacuation process is complete. CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) personnel who were the first responders along with NDRF (National Disaster Relief Force) teams managed to rescue a woman and a child alive during the final search of the plane’s wreckage.
A helpline (0565463903) has been set up by the Kerala government for families of passengers of IX-1344. President of the Indian Association in Sharjah EP Johnson has also launched a similar helpline number. Johnson said, “Those in need can call us on the following numbers: 050-3675770, 050-4828472, and 050-6266546.”
What happened at Kozhikode airport?
Preliminary inputs indicate that the fuselage broke into two after the aircraft overshot the runway at Karipur airport. The aircraft has been identified as AXB1344, B737 Dubai (DXB) to Calicut (CCJ), an Air India Express Boeing 737 flying in from Dubai into Calicut.
A missed approach was carried out first followed by a second attempt to land the aircraft when it overshot the runway. The aircraft’s actual speed was higher than the landing speed.
The Air India Express plane overshot the runway at Kozhikode International Airport in Kerala around 7.41 pm on Friday. It has been confirmed that the aircraft did not catch fire. The airport in Kozhikode had been receiving incessant rainfall in the hours leading up to and during the tragic accident.
he Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) issued a statement soon after the incident saying, “Air India Express IX-1344 Dubai to Calicut, visibility 2000 meter, heavy rain, after landing on Runway 10, continued running to the end of the runway and fell down in the valley and broke down into two pieces.”
DGCA DG Arun Kumar had told India Today that there were 174 passengers, 10 infants, four crew members and two pilots onboard. Kumar had added, “Air India Express Flight No IX-1344 from Dubai to Calicut skidded off the runway. We pray for well being of passengers and crew and will keep you updated as and when we receive further updates.”
DG Kumar had also stated that the Kozhikode International Airport is a valley airport, adding that the injured have been rushed to nearby hospitals.
Air India Express also issued a statement saying, “We regret that there has been an incident regarding our aircraft VT GHK, operating IX 1344 DXB CCJ. Due to crash landing of the flight, it may affect the network but Vande Bharat Mission continues.”
Additional DG (Media) at the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Rajeev Jain was quoted as saying, “Passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care.”
Kerala Director General of Police (DGP) Loknath Behra had told India Today, “All hands on deck. We are still trying to get more information. The flight was from Dubai to Calicut. Priority is evacuation, safety and treatment of passengers on board.”
Emergency response, rescue operation
All agencies were instructed by the Kerala CMO to participate in the evacuation process. AC Moideen, minister for local bodies was deputed to coordinate rescue operations. He was on his way to Karipur from Thrissur at the time of this report being published. CM Vijayan had also deputed an IG of police to oversee the operation. Fire and Rescue teams from at least two districts were rushed to the spot.
“There were children who were separated from their families. We are trying to get in touch with their relatives,” Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja had said at the time of the rescue operation on Friday.