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 portions. The incident took place at 7.41 pm on Friday evening.
Here is what we know so far about the crash:
1. The death toll in the crash rose to 18, including two pilots, on Saturday. Except one, all those who had perished in the accident have been identified, Malappuram District Collector K Gopalakrishnan said.
"Eighteen people, including two pilots, have lost their lives. It is unfortunate. 127 people are at hospitals, others have been released," said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
2. The pilot-in-command Captain Deepak Sathe also lost his life in the accident. He was a decorated former Indian Air Force pilot before he decided to become a commercial pilot. Sathe joined Air India after leaving the Air Force in 2003. He then shifted to Air India Express where he became a captain.
3. According to experts, a deadly combination of a slippery runway, strong tailwind, bad weather conditions, and landing ahead of the threshold spot could have resulted in the skidding of plane.
"It may be due to lack of friction between the tyres and the runway. There may be the factor of hydroplaning due to waterlogging," IANS quoted a pilot.
4. The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) or the black box and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) have been recovered from the plane, an aviation regulator official said on Saturday.
"The DFDR and CVR, which have been recovered from the plane, will help in finding the cause of this accident," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation official said. These devices are with the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau and will be sent to Delhi for further investigation, according to the official.
5. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DG), Civil Aviation Ministry senior officials, Airports Authority of India, and Air Navigation Service members will meet in Delhi today (Saturday) at Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan over the crash-landing incident. "We have started our investigation, Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) team has reached the crash site," said DGCA.
6. Reportedly, the DGCA had issued a show-cause notice to the director of the Kozhikode airport K Srinivasa Rao on July 11 last year after it found "various critical safety lapses", officials said on Saturday. The DGCA had pointed to cracks on the runway, water stagnation and excessive rubber deposits among other lapses in its show-cause notice. However, it is not clear if any action was taken against Rao after the show-cause was issued.
7. One of the 18 passengers, who died in the crash, has tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, Health Minister KK 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. "All those who were involved in rescue operations at Kozhikode Airport should go into self-quarantine. State Government will conduct COVID-19 tests of all," said KK Shailaja.
8. Here is a list of helpline numbers to contact:
1. 056 546 3903 - Consulate General of India, Dubai
2. 0543090572 - Consulate General of India, Dubai
3. 0543090575 - Consulate General of India, Dubai.
Relatives of passengers onboard can contact the following numbers:
1. Airport Control Room - 0483 2719493
2. Malappuram Collectorate - 0483 2736320
3. Kozhikode Collectorate - 0495 2376901
Meanwhile, all those who have participated in the rescue should inform the health department. Either contact the tollfree numbers--1056, 0471 2552056, or control rooms--0483 2733251, 2733252, 2733253, 0495 2376063, 2371471, 2373901, KK Shailaja said.
(With input from agencies)