Plane rips in half in crash that killed at least 17 people

Reuters
·2-min read

At least 17 people have been killed and more than 100 injured after a plane overshot a runway in heavy rain.

The plane, an Air India Express aircraft, crashed near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday, officials said.

The plane was repatriating Indians stranded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health workers transfer an inured passenger on a stretcher to take her inside a hospital in Kozhikode, Kerela, after an Air India Express jet crashed by overshooting the runway at Calicut International Airport.
Paramedics help a passenger from the Air India Express jet. Source: Getty Images

It was travelling from Dubai to Calicut International Airport carrying 190 passengers and crew, the civil aviation ministry said in a statement. Among them were 10 infants.

Director General of the National Disaster Response Force S.N. Pradhan said it “appears” the plane crossed the runway and fell into a ditch because it’s a “tabletop” runway.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told national broadcaster DD News an investigation will commence.

"Because of the weather conditions, he could not land the first time, so he did a turnaround and tried to approach it from a different direction," he said.

First responders inspect the wreckage of an Air India Express jet, which was carrying more than 190 passengers and crew from Dubai, after it crashed by overshooting the runway at Calicut International Airport in Karipur, Kerala.
Authorities believe wet conditions led to the plane sliding off the runway. Source: Getty Images

The aircraft laid split into at least two chunks after the plane's fuselage sheared apart as it fell into a valley nine metres below, authorities said.

The Civil Aviation Minister said rescue operations had been completed and all passengers had been removed from the aircraft.

Police said earlier four people were stuck in the wreckage.

The civil aviation ministry said in a statement there was no fire on board.

First responders gather around the wreckage of an Air India Express jet, which was carrying more than 190 passengers and crew from Dubai, after it crashed by overshooting the runway at Calicut International Airport in Karipur, Kerala.
At least 17 people died in the crash. Source: Getty Images

Mr Puri said authorities managed to rescue most of the passengers because the plane did not catch fire while descending the slope at the end of the table-top runway. Such runways are located at an altitude and have steep drops at one or both ends.

"The good news is that the plane broke up and we were able to access the passengers," Mr Puri said.

He said rescue operations had been completed.

Friday's crash is the worst passenger aircraft accident in the country since 2010, when an Air India Express flight, also from Dubai, overshot the runway and slid down a hill while landing in the southern Indian city of Mangalore, killing 158 people.

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