2nd LD Writethru: Plane skids off runway at airport in India, casualties feared

  • World
  • Saturday, 08 Aug 2020

NEW DELHI, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- An Air India plane, a Boeing 737, with around 195 people, including 189 passengers and six crew members, onboard, skidded off the runway at Kozhikode Airport in India's southern state of Kerala on Friday evening, media reports said.

The aircraft was from Dubai carrying passengers stuck there amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though officially no casualties are reported yet, a few media reports claimed at least two persons died in the mishap, as the rescue work is being carried out at the airport.

Among the dead is one of the pilots, added the media reports.

The Kozhikode Airport is said to be a "table top airport", having a deep valley at the end of the runway.

Officials of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have also feared possibilities of a few casualties in the mishap.

The aircraft had landed amidst heavy rains. Fortunately, the plane didn't catch fire, showed live TV media reports.

The plane split into two parts immediately after skidding off on the runway, according to media.

TV reports showed airport staff trying to evacuate people from inside the plane.

The country's Home Minister Amit Shah said that several teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been rushed to the site to carry out rescue operations.

"Distressed to learn about the tragic accident of Air India Express aircraft in Kozhikode, Kerala. Have instructed NDRF to reach the site at the earliest and assist with the rescue operations," tweeted Shah.

The country's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also tweeted, "Devastating news from Kozhikode, Kerala. I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to an accident carrying several passengers on Air India flight. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured."

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