An Air India Express flight, which was coming from Dubai, carrying 190 people including 10 infants and six crew members, skidded off the runway while landing at Karipur Airport in Kozhikode on Friday evening.
The plane overshot the table-top runway while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35-feet below and broke into two parts. The incident took place at 7.41 pm on Friday evening.
According to the latest reports, the death toll in the crash rose to 18. "Eighteen people have lost their lives. It is unfortunate. 127 people are at hospitals, others have been released," said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday.
Meanwhile, along with pilot-in-command Captain Deepak Sathe, co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar also lost his life in the tragic incident.
Kumar's father Tulsi Ram said that they had received a call from the authority about the crash landing of the flight yesterday. "We were told that his condition is serious," he said. "Later, we were told about his demise. His younger brother and brother-in-law have gone to Kerala," he added.
Captain Kumar's cousin Basudev told ANI that his wife is expecting to deliver their child in the next 15-17 days. The couple got married in December 2017.
"He joined Air India in 2017 and had come home (Mathura) last, before lockdown," he said and added, "he was a very humble, polite, & well-behaved person."
Reportedly, Akhilesh Kumar was a part of the first repatriation flight under the Vande Bharat Mission to land in Kozhikode. He, along with the cabin crew, had received a hero's welcome on May 8, 2020, at the airport.
Kumar is survived by his wife Megha, two younger brothers, a sister and his parents.