17 killed as plane skids off runway

An Air India Express plane with 191 people on board has crashed at an airport in the southern state of Kerala, killing at least 17 people, officials say.

The Boeing 737, en route from Dubai, skidded off the runway in rain and broke in two after landing at Calicut airport, aviation officials said.

The flight was repatriating Indians stranded by the coronavirus crisis.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained by the plane accident”.

Most people on board the Boeing 737 jet have been evacuated, with dozens of them taken to hospital with injuries, some serious, authorities said.

“We have at least 89 people, many of them with serious injuries, admitted at different Kozhikode hospitals. The ambulances are still coming in,” a senior police official, Sujith Das, told AFP news agency.

The airline said there were 184 passengers, including 10 children, and seven crew members on board flight IX-1344 when it crashed in rainy conditions at Calicut, also known as Kozhikode.

The plane attempted to land just before 20:00 local time (15:30 BST) on Friday, as heavy monsoon-season rainfall lashed Kerala.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the plane fell into a valley and broke in two after skidding off the end of the runway. No fire was reported at the time of landing, the aviation regulator said.

In a tweet India’s Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, said the aircraft “overshot the runway in rainy conditions”, then plunged down a 35ft (10.6m) slope, before breaking in two.

He said a formal inquiry would be carried out by India’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).

Images broadcast by Indian media show the aircraft broken in two pieces at the bottom of the slope, with people searching through the wreckage.

The aircraft circled the airport several times and made two attempts to land, NDTV reported, citing flight-tracking data.

Culled from BBC

 

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