Kerala, reeling under torrential monsoon rains and landslides in the hilly regions, witnessed another tragedy Friday evening. An Air India Express plane from Dubai veered off the runway at the Karippur airport at Kozhikode at 7.41 pm on Friday. The plane split into two, leaving at least 17 dead and 136 injured.
About 191 people were known to be on board the plane, which split into two just off the 'tabletop' runway. .
As the plane landed in low visibility due to blinding rain, it reportedly went out of the pilot's control and slid off the 'tabletop' runway -- the technical name for a runway constructed on uneven or low-lying land and has steep precipices on the sides.
Former Tourism Minister Alphons KJ said a pilot had died in the plane dies and lots of passengers were injured.
Second tragedy of the day in Kerala : Air India Express skids off the run way at Kozhikode, front portion splits , pilot dies and lots of passengers injured . All passengers evacuated. Very lucky the aircraft didn’t catch fire @narendramodi @JPNadda— Alphons KJ (@alphonstourism) August 7, 2020
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said police and fire force personnel have been directed to take all measures for rescue and relief operations
The nearby hospitals at Kondotty and Kozhikode, where the injured were rushed, witnessed scenes of chaos, with many receiving treatment lying on the floor.
The plane is reported to have fallen 30 feet off the edge of the runway at Karippur.
Air experts are drawing a comparison to the 2010 tragedy at the Mangalore airport, also a tabletop runway with a steep fall along one of the edges.
"Distressed to learn about the tragic accident of Air India Express aircraft in Kozhikode, Kerala. I have instructed NDRF to reach the site at the earliest and assist with the rescue operations," Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted.
The Indian Consulate in Dubai has activated four helpline numbers to provide information to the family members of the Air India Express flight that skidded off the tabletop runway at Karipur airport.
“We pray for the wellbeing of passengers and crew and will keep you updated as and when we receive further updates. Our helplines +97156 5463903, +971543090572, +971543090572, +971543090575,” Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General of India, told PTI.
Earlier in the day, 84 tea estate workers were trapped under a landslide in Munnar. Only 14 bodies have been found, and dozens of bodies are believed to be still trapped under mounds of slush.
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