AI Express Skids Off Runway, Breaks Apart: Both Pilots Among 19 Killed, 45 Injured

Bhubaneswar: An Air India Express aircraft skidded off the runway while landing in Kozhikode and plunged into the deep valley below. 19 people have reportedly died in the accident, including the pilot of the flight, D.V. Sathe.

The incident occurred at 7.41 p.m. on Friday, when the flight from Dubai to Kozhikode skidded off the runway after landing at the ‘table-top’ airport. The aircraft with 190 persons onboard, including six crew members, battled heavy rains while landing.

According to reports, the incident happened during the second attempt to land. First attempt was a failure. In the second attempt the aircraft tyres got locked, said sources.

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Air India Express AXB1344, a B737 aircraft, with 191 people onboard, landed on Runway 10 amid visibility of 2,000 metres in heavy rain, but continued running till the end of runway, fell down in the valley and broke into two pieces.

As per the Ministry of Civil Aviation, rescue operations are going on and the injured have been moved to the hospital. At least 45 of them are injured. The flight was being operated by the Government of India to repatriate Indians stuck overseas during the coronavirus crisis, under Vande Bharat Mission.

Air India said there were 184 passengers – including 10 children and seven crew members, of which two were pilots – on board flight when it crashed at Calicut, also known as Kozhikode.