Back to back tragedies in Kerala: At least 18 dead in a plane crash at the Kozhikode airport! What happened?

While being braced up to the tragedy of the damages, landslides, and loss of lives brought by the heavy rains, the state of Kerala had witnessed yet another tragedy that disheartened everyone after an Air India flight had crashed at the Kozhikode Airport and the mishap had claimed dozens and injured hundreds as the state is reeling through mourning hours after the back to back tragedies amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the reports close to the developments, the Air India Express Flight from Dubai to Kozhikode in Kerala had crashed on the landing at the Kozhikode International Airport on the night hours of Friday and the crash has killed at least 18 people, including the pilot and co-pilot, and injured over 120 others who have been getting treated in various hospitals.


The Air India Express AXB 1344 flight had 174 adult passengers, 10 children, 4 cabin crew members, and 2 pilots on board. When it approached the runway for landing, the flight had reportedly skidded off the tabletop runway while landing and though there was no fire reported when it landed, it, however, crashed and split into two pieces after colliding on the wall. The reports say that the mishap occurred around 7.40 pm on Friday when there was heavy rain and poor visibility and it had caused severe damage to the cockpit. 


Malappuram district collector said all 190 people on board the aircraft were taken to the hospitals in Malappuram and Kozhikode districts and at least 18 had died while the injured people have been getting treated at 13 hospitals in Kozhikode, Malappuram, Kottaykkal, and Manjeri. These 18 deaths were reported from the hospitals in Kozhikode and Malappuram, and the deceased include pilot, co-pilot, women, and atleast one child. 

The flight was part of the Vande Bharat mission, that has been rescuing stranded Indians from abroad. Air India has, on Saturday, said that it would arrange three relief flights to assist passengers and their family members affected by the plane crash. According to the latest reports, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will visit the airport on Saturday and the Governor's office confirmed that the Governor has already spoken to the Chief Minister and Kerala police chief about the relief and rescue operations. 


According to the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, the crashed aircraft is a Boeing 737 model. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri took to Twitter and said," Two investigation teams of professionals from @airindiain @AAI_Official & AAIB will leave for Kozhikode at 02.00 hrs & 05.00 hrs. Everyone has now been rescued from the aircraft. Rescue operations are now complete. Injured being treated at various city hospitals".


Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took to Twitter and said "Update on Kozhikode #crash, Evacuation completed. Malappuram collector has informed that the rescue operations at the site have been completed. Air India flight AXB1344 (@DXB to CCJ) had 190 passengers. They all have been transferred to hospitals in Malappuram and Kozhikode."

According to the reports, the Kozhikode airport has a tabletop runway that sits top of a plateau which would create an optical illusion that requires a precise approach. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation had already instructed that the pilots need additional training for navigating tabletop runways. The Union Aviation Minister further stated that he is going to the Kozhikode International Airport and he cited that the task would have been more difficult if the plane had caught fire. 


ANI has reported that the Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan had reached Kozhikode on Saturday. Muraleedharan, who is a native of Thalassery, Kerala, said," I have seen debris, Air India Express aircraft is broken into 2 pieces. Inspection is being done. Some part of  the aircraft was torn apart during rescue operation. DGCA has announced enquiry. Civil Aviation Minister will reach around 12 pm: V Muraleedharan,MoS External Affairs". Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. Spoke to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan Ji regarding the situation. Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected."

Must-read: At least 15 dead and dozens missing in landslide in Kerala's Idukki after heavy rains!

Helpline numbers regarding the flight crash in Kozhikode,

Airport Control Room - 0483 2719493

Malappuram Collectorate - 0483 2736320

Kozhikode Collectorate - 0495 2376901