An Air India Express aeroplane with 191 people on board crashed at the Calicut airport in Kerala, killing at least 16 people. The flight from Dubai skidded off the runway and broke in two at Calicut airport upon landing, India’s aviation authority said.
Rescue efforts are underway, with emergency services at the scene.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “pained by the plane accident”.
MK Raghavan, a legislator from Calicut, said at least 16 people had died in the crash.
The airport authority has evacuated most people on board the Boeing 737 jet of Air India Express. The rescue team took at least 35 of them to hospital with injuries, an official said.
The airline said there were 184 passengers ― including 10 children and seven crew members, of which two were pilots ― on board flight IX-1344 when it crashed at Calicut, also known as Kozhikode.
The government was operating this Air India Express flight to bring back Indians stuck overseas during the coronavirus crisis.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the plane had fallen into a valley. It broke in two after skidding off the end of the runway. No fire was reported at the time of landing, the aviation regulator said.
Media photographs show the aircraft body cracked into two pieces, with people searching through the wreckage.
“Distressed to learn about the tragic accident of Air India Express aircraft in Kozhikode, Kerala. Have instructed NDRF [National Disaster Response Force] to reach the site at the earliest and assist with the rescue operations,” Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah tweeted .
The incident happened at around 7:00 PM amid heavy rainfall in the region.
The flooding and landslides owe to India’s peak monsoon season.
Earlier today, dozens of people were feared dead in Kerala’s Idukki district after monsoon-season floods triggered a landslide .
Plane crashes have happened before during India’s monsoon season, which lasts from June to September and wreaks havoc across South Asia every year.
In May 2010, 158 people died when an Air India Express flight overshot Mangalore airport runway and crashed. A similar incident happened in July 2019 in Mangalore, prompting an inquiry.