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Kerala plane tragedy: Hardeep Puri orders formal inquiry; relief teams dispatched from Delhi, Mumbai

The Air India Express plane en route from Dubai, as part of the Vande Bharat repatriation operations, overshot the tabletop runway at Kerala's Kozhikode airport amid heavy rain and split into two on Friday evening.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 8, 2020 1:35:22 am
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While expressing anguish at the Air India Express plane accident at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport that killed at least 17 people onboard, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri Friday said a formal inquiry will be conducted by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau into the accident, reported PTI.

At least 17 persons were killed, including pilot and co-pilot, after an Air India Express flight with 190 passengers (including crew) en route from Dubai, as part of the Vande Bharat repatriation operations, overshot the tabletop runway at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport amid heavy rain and fell into a 35-feet valley before splitting into two pieces today evening.

“All efforts are being made to help passengers. A formal enquiry will be conducted by AAIB (Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau),” the minister said on Twitter. Air India, AAI relief teams are being dispatched from Delhi, Mumbai to probe the incident, Puri said.

Before Puri’s announcement, the Civil Aviation Ministry had said the flight IX 1344 operated by B737 aircraft from Dubai overshot runway at Kozhikode at 7.41 PM on Friday. “No fire reported at the time of landing,” it noted. A DGCA statement said after landing at Runway 10, the plane fell into the valley.

“As per the initial reports, rescue operations are on and passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care,” the ministry noted.

The Air India Express is a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India and it has only B737 aircraft in its fleet.

Expressing his condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he directed authorities to the spot to provide all assistance to the affected. He also spoke with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in this regard.

“Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest,” the prime minister tweeted.

Like Mangaluru, Kozhikode airport has a tabletop runway which was carved out of a hillock. Runways at these airports, which are located on hilltops, create the optical illusion of being at the same level as the plains below when a pilot comes in for landing.

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