Passenger flight crashes upon landing at Calicut airport in India

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Yesterday, an Air India Express passenger flight attempted a landing at Calicut International Airport at Karipur, Kerala in India. The aircraft overshot the runway around 7:38 pm IST (1408 UTC) in the evening and slid off before breaking into at least two pieces. According to authorities, at least a dozen people lost their lives and scores more were injured.

This is the aircraft which crashed, as seen in 2008.
Image: Sean d'Silva.

Air India Express flight 1344 (AXB1344/IX1344) was en-route from Dubai, UAE making its second attempt at a landing at Calicut during monsoon rains. The flight was part of the Vande Bharat Mission to return Indian nationals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aircraft was a Boeing 737.

According to the National Disaster Response Force, Calicut has a tabletop runway, so when the aircraft failed to stop on the runway, it fell into a ditch or gorge. The aircraft broke into two pieces but did not catch fire, according to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. There were 190 people on board, six of them crew members.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said 18 people died. 149 of the survivors have been hospitalized. Hardeep also stated that both of the flight recorders have been recovered.

Among the dead are both the pilot and co-pilot. The local health minister said, "The injured persons have been rushed to Kozhikode Medical College and other nearby hospitals. Those admitted are having serious injuries."

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote, "My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. [...] Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected."