Officials stated an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 NG flight IX-1344 en route from Dubai crashed at Calicut airport at 14:30 GMT in the southern state of Kerala with 16 fatalities including pilot and co-pilot.
The official flight roster reported 174 passengers, 10 infants, 2 pilots, 4 cabin crew onboard the aircraft. The flight’s four crew members were confirmed safe.
Air India reported the plane was a repatriation flight by the Indian Government to return Indian nationals stranded in Dubai due to Covid-19 crisis-induced international flight restrictions.
Flight tracking data reported the aircraft initiated go-around several times due to inclement weather and attempted final approach twice. At the time of aircraft descent, heavy rain and thunderstorms obscured approach and landing on the runway. Calicut in southern India is currently experiencing usual, seasonal heavy monsoon downpour.
Kozhikode Calicut International Airport has a tabletop runway and generally only experienced pilots and are scheduled for the route.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated the Boeing 737 overshot runway threshold, skidded, and dived 35 feet (10.6 meters) into a valley. No fire was reported after the crash, allowing rescuers to search for survivors through the wreckage. On evacuation, at least 89 passengers, 46 with serious injuries were rushed to nearby hospitals. Ambulances were on standby to attend to the injured. The last passenger was saved from the wreckage at 17:40 GMT.
India’s Aircraft Accident Bureau (AAIB) has launched a formal investigation into the crash.
India’s Honorable Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi expressed his sympathy and condolences for “those who lost their loved ones” in this tragic incident.
Air India Express is a subsidiary of Air India and operates 25 Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft.