An Air India Express airplane with 191 people on board has crashed at an airport in the southern state of Kerala, killing at least 16 people, officials say.
The Boeing 737, en route from Dubai, skidded off the runway in rain and broke in two after landing at Calicut airport, aviation officers stated.
The flight was repatriating Indians stranded by the corona virus crisis.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated he was “pained by the aircraft accident”.
MK Raghavan, a lawmaker from Calicut, told at least 16 individuals died in the crash.
Most individuals on board the Boeing 737 jet have been evacuated, with dozens of them taken to hospital with injuries, some serious, authorities stated.
“We have at least 89 individuals, many of them with serious injuries, admitted at different Kozhikode hospitals. The ambulances are still coming in,” a senior police official
The airline said there were 184 passengers, including 10 kids, and 7 crew members on board flight IX-1344 when it crashed in rainy conditions at Calicut, also known as Kozhikode.
What do we all know about the crash?
The aircraft tried to land just before 20:00 local time (15:30 IST) on Friday, as heavy monsoon-season rainfall lashed Kerala.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated the aircraft fell right into a valley and broke in two after skidding off the end of the runway. No fire was reported at the time of landing, the aviation regulator stated.
In a tweet India’s Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, said the plane “overshot the runway in rainy conditions”, then plunged down a 35ft (10.6m) slope, before breaking in two.
He said a formal inquiry would be carried out by India’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB).
Photographs broadcast by Indian media show the plane damaged in two pieces at the bottom of the slope, with individuals searching through the wreckage.
The plane circled the airport several times and made two attempts to land,
On the time of the aircraft’s descent, Kerala was being battered by heavy rains, which are usual in India at this time of year, as a result of seasonal monsoon.
Earlier on Friday, dozens of people had been feared dead in Kerala’s Idukki district after monsoon-season floods triggered a landslide.
What other major aircraft crashes have occurred in India?
Airplane crashes have occurred before during the monsoon season, which lasts from June to September and wreaks havoc across south Asia yearly.
In May 2010, 158 people died when an Air India Express flight overshot Mangalore airport runway and crashed.
The same incident occurred in July 2019 in Mangalore, prompting an inquiry.