(CMR) An Air India Express plane with 191 people on board has crashed at an airport in a southern Indian state killing multiple people earlier this evening.
The plane is said to have skidded off the runway where it nosedived into a valley 35 feet below. It then split in two during landing in heavy rains killing at least 17 passengers including the two pilots. 16 more are in critical condition and 123 injured.
The special flight, AXB1344, was bringing home Indian nationals from Dubai where they were stranded for months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The two-year-old Boeing 737-800 flew from Dubai to Kozhikode, also called Calicut, in Kerala, India’s southernmost state, the airline said.
CMR understands that the flight was operating in poor weather conditions as it had been raining there for several hours before the incident. The government put people in quarantined after they were rescued. An exclusive source shared that he was severely traumatized as he witnessed the pilot die. Although he is in shock he was able to render some assistance to some of the other passengers.
Rescue efforts were hindered because of a fuel leak but the injured were shuttled to several government and private hospitals.
“We regret that there has been an incident regarding our aircraft,” read a statement from the airline that revealed that its jet had “overshot” the runway.
Images circulating on social media by Twitter user @santhusarling indicate that the Boeing 737 has been extensively damaged, with pictures showing the cockpit separated from the rest of the craft.
The Calicut International Airport where the plane was attempting to land has a “tabletop runway,” or a runway at the top of a hill, plateau, or mountain, with steep drop-offs past both ends.