India: plane goes off runway and breaks in two, 17 dead and 138 injured according to provisional toll

Sylvie Claire / August 8, 2020

 

At least 17 people were killed and 15 seriously injured on Friday when an Air India Express passenger plane departed the runway and "split in two" after landing in heavy rain in southern India. India.

 

According to the company, the Boeing 737 carried 191 people, crew included, and linked Dubai to Kozhikode, in the Indian state of Kerala (south).

 

The plane passed the end of the runway and rolled down a slope with a height of 10 meters, according to the Ministry of Aviation.

 

TV footage shows jagged portions of the fuselage surrounded by rescue teams spraying them with water in the dark. No sign of fire is visible, but operations are complicated by the rain.

 

The medical officer for the nearby town of Malappuram, Sakeen K., said at least 17 people were killed.

 

According to a Kozhikode municipal official, Seeram Sambasiva, the two pilots were killed.

 

A senior local police officer, Abdul Karim, told AFP that at least 15 passengers "are in critical condition. The situation continues to evolve.

 

We fear that the human toll will worsen. The rescue operation is over. We are now harvesting and sorting the belongings and valuables of the people around the tarmac, he added.

 

According to the aeronautical regulatory agency DGCA, the plane skidded at the end of the runway, "fell into the valley and broke in two ».

 

A spokesperson for Air India Express also said the plane appeared to have rolled over the runway.

 

A television station claimed that there had been a problem with the landing gear.

 

Air India Express said in a statement that "no fire was reported at the time of landing" of the plane, which was carrying 184 passengers including 10 toddlers, two pilots and five working crew members. in the cabin.

 

The crashed Boeing was one of dozens of planes which, in recent weeks, have repatriated thousands of Indians stranded by the pandemic abroad, especially in the Gulf countries.

 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences on Twitter. "My thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones. May the injured recover quickly (...) The authorities are there, providing all possible help to the victims, he wrote.

 

The last serious air crash in India dates back to 2010, when an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 from Dubai to Mangalore overshot the runway and exploded, killing 158 people. Eight people had survived.

 

Torrential rains have been falling in Kerala for several days.

 

At least 15 people, including two children, perished there on Friday in a landslide caused by the rain.

 

The emergency services fear that around fifty people are still stuck in the rubble of houses washed away by the landslide.

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