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Fatalities are feared after a passenger plane crash-landed at an airport in southern India on Friday carrying at least 185 people from Dubai and split in two, officials and reports said.
Air India Express plane crashed at Kerala state’s Kozhikode airport. A state deputy said the pilot had at least died in the crash, while rumors spoke of hundreds of injured passengers being taken.
“The flight was coming from Dubai. It had over 185 passengers. Rescue operations are on but the rains are making it difficult,” an emergency services official told.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Boeing-737 flight from Dubai was carrying home Indians stranded overseas. There were 190 passengers and crew on board, he said in a statement from the civil aviation ministry. Ten of them were infants.
Television footage showed rescue workers in rain surrounding the wreckage. The aircraft was divided into at least two chunks after the fuselage of the aircraft was shattered as it fell 30 feet below into a valley, authorities said.
#WATCH Kerala: Dubai-Kozhikode Air India flight (IX-1344) with 190 people onboard skidded during landing at Karipur Airport today. (Video source: Karipur Airport official) pic.twitter.com/aX90CYve90
— ANI (@ANI) August 7, 2020
News reports indicated the plane was skidding off a runway, crashing into the ground nose-first.
At least 15 people had been killed, with at least four passengers stuck in the wreckage, the Kerala state police chief said.
In a tweet, the civil aviation ministry said no fire was on board.
#airindia #AirIndiaExpress Air india crash landing pic.twitter.com/G82c5Dg6nk
— Ground Zero News India (@Ground0newsind) August 7, 2020
Indian local TV news channels showed passengers, some of which were lying motionless on stretchers, brought into a hospital surrounded by health workers with masks.
Air India Express AXB1344, was a government-operated repatriation flight to carry home Indians during international travel restrictions owing to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Millions of Indians work in the Gulf.