An Air India Express plane from Dubai skidded off a runway upon landing at Kozhikode International Airport in southern India’s Kerala state on Friday, breaking into two pieces and killing at least 16 people, including both pilots, multiple local news outlets reported.
The Air India Express flight from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), to Kozhikode, India, had 191 passengers and about six crew members on board, including both pilots who were killed in the crash. While attempting to land amid heavy rain, the plane reportedly overshot the runway, skidded off the landing strip, and “fell into a 30 feet deep gorge,” breaking in half. In video of the accident, debris from the plane is seen scattered across the runway. At least 16 people have died from injuries sustained during the accident and at least 123 others were injured, 15 seriously, the Times of India reported.
“This unfortunate incident happened around 7:41 PM [local time]. There were  passengers and six crew members on the aircraft. This aircraft slipped out of the runway while it was landing and the aircraft was broken into two parts,” CPM Leader MB Rajesh, a former Minister of Parliament in Kerala, told India’s NDTV news.
“Many passengers have suffered serious injuries and all of them have been … admitted in [nearby] hospitals,” he added.
Watch | “All passengers have been evacuated and admitted in hospitals”: MB Rajesh, CPM leader and former MP from Kerala on Air India express plane skidding off the runway at Kozhikode airport pic.twitter.com/0CY1dSsaJc
— NDTV (@ndtv) August 7, 2020
The Air India Express flight from Dubai to Kozhikode “was part of the Vande Bharat Mission, meant to bring home stranded [Indian citizens] from other countries amid the Covid-19 [Chinese coronavirus] pandemic,” the Hindustan Times revealed. “Most of the passengers were stranded visitors and those who had lost their jobs,” TOI said.
“Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. Spoke to Kerala CM [Chief Minister] @vijayanpinarayi Ji regarding the situation. Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted late Friday.