Air India Express plane crash death stands at 18 - a deceased passenger tests positive for COVID-19, rescue officials asked to go on self-quarantine

Images show Air India Express plane split into two after crash landing in Kerala's airportIANS
  • An Air India Express plane overshot the runway and crash landed at the Kozhikode airport in the Indian state of Kerala at around 7:45 pm on Friday evening.
  • It fell 35 feet into a valley and split into two, however, there was no fire onboard.
  • Air India Express has confirmed that both pilots perished in the plane crash.
  • Overall, the crash has left at least 18 dead, including two crew members, according to Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
  • Puri added that two investigative teams of professionals from Air India, AAI and AIIB will leave for Kozhikodhe at 2:00 am and 5:00 am.
  • One of the pilots, Captain Deepak Sathe, was a former Air Force pilot who used to fly the MiG 21 fighter aircraft.
  • The evacuation process has been completed and all injured are currently being treated at nearby hospitals.
An Air India Express plane (IX 1344) coming to India from Dubai overshot the runway at Kozhikode airport in Kerala on Friday evening and crash landed in a valley. The incident occurred at around 7:45 pm.

The crashed Air India plane on lies off the runway at Kozhikode airport in KeralaIANS

According to aviation minister Hardeep Puri at least 18 people are dead."Relief teams from Air India & AAI [Airport Authority of India] are being immediately dispatched from Delhi & Mumbai. All efforts being made to help passengers," he said in a tweet adding that a formal inquiry will be conducted by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).


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The black box records the conversation between the pilots as well as with the air traffic control tower, apart from the flight data. According to aviation guidelines, the DGCA will conduct a detailed probe and identify the real cause of the accident.

Two special relief flights have been arranged from Delhi and one from Mumbai for rendering humanitarian assistance to all the passengers and the family members.

According to news agency PTI, one of the 18 passengers has tested positive for COVID-19. Health Minister K K Shailaja has asked all the people who were engaged in the rescue operations should report to the health authorities and go on self quarantine as a precautionary measure and get themselves tested.

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Air India express has also announced compensation for the victims. "To provide immediate relief, as an interim compensation AI Express will give Rs 10,00,000 to the next kin of the deceased passenger 12 years and above, Rs 5,00,000 to the passengers below the age of 12 years, Rs 200,000 to critically injured passenger and Rs 50,000 to the passenger who are injured in the incident," the statement said.

Why did the plane crash?

The plane had 174 passengers on board, including 10 infants, 6 crew members and two pilots. "We must remember that it is a tabletop runway at Kozhikode," said National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) chief DG SN Pradhan. He explained that the plane landed on Runway 10 amid heavy rain leaving it with a visibility of 2,000 metres.


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The flight skidded off the runway and plunged deep into a valley, where it then broke into two pieces, according to both the Air India spokesperson and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). Puri estimates that the valley was around 35 feet deep.


A local resident told IANS, "I live around 20 meters away from the compound wall of the airport. Hearing the loud sound a few of us came rushing. We saw the cockpit of the aircraft jutting out of the compound wall."According to Pradhan, there seem to be injuries among all the passengers and some have been rendered unconscious.


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Both pilots perish in plane crash
Air India Express has confirmed that the two pilots who were at the helm of the plane lost their lives during the crash landing, Captain Deepak Sathe and Captain Akhilesh Kumar.


Captain Deepak Sathe was a former Air Force Pilot and flew the Airbus 310 for Air India before piloting the Air India Express on the Boeing 737. While with the 17 Squadron in Ambala, also known as the Golden Arrows, Sathe flew the MiG 21 figher aircraft.

Investigation of the crash underway
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences on the incident on Twitter. He spoke to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on phone about Karipur plane crash. Vijayan informed Modi that a team of officials including Kozhikode & Malappuram District Collectors & IG Ashok Yadav have arrived at the airport and are participating in the rescue operations.
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The evacuation process of the crash has been completed, according to the Kerala chief minister. "All have been transferred to hospitals in Malappuran and Kozhikode," he said.

The DGCA has ordered a detailed inquiry into the matter. Two investigative teams of professionals from Air India, AAI and AIIB will leave for Kozhikodhe at 2:00 am and 5:00 am, respectively, according to Puri.

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Home Minister Amit Shah has also instructed the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) to help with the rescue operations.


Air India Express has only Boeing 737 planes in its fleet.

For more information about the crash the Consulate in Dubai has issued the following helpline numbers
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  • 056-546-3909
  • 054-309-0572
  • 054-309-0575
The Ministry of Exernal Affairs can also be reached locally at the following numbers
  • 1800 118 797
  • +91 11 23012113
  • +91 11 23017905
  • +91 11 23014104
The Kerala state government has also established helplines for people in India to reach out.
  • Airport control room: 0483-2719493
  • Malappuram Collectorate: 0483-2736320
  • Kozhikode Collectorate: 0495-2376901
  • 054-309-0572
(With agency inputs)

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