Air India Express crash in Kozhikode; Black Box recovered from the aircraftAugust 08, 2020 12:58
(Image source from: thegulfindians.com)
While the world is already fighting an unending battle in the form of Covid-19, another disaster happened in Kozhikode on Friday. An Air India Express, part of the Vande Bharat repatriation mission, wherein majority of the non-resident Keralites were being rescued from Dubai and brought back to India.
According to the initial reports, 18 individuals, including two pilots have lost their lives to the tragedy.
Air India reported that “Angels of Air India”, a special assistance team were flown to Kozhikode from Mumbai to help manage the situation and aid in the relief around. They will also extract information concerning the individuals who lost their lives.
“The Go Teams and Angels of Air India have reached Calicut for being with the injured passengers as well as with the family members of the injured as well as dead passengers,” said Air India in a statement.
The mishap happened when the Air India flight overshot the tabletop runway at Kozhikode Airport because of heavy rainfall, falling down into a 35 feet valley, breaking the aircraft into two. The incident has injured over 100 passengers and crew members onboard.
Air India has also reported that they have arranged for two special flights from Delhi and Mumbai, providing with humanitarian assistance to the impacted passengers and crew members and their families.
“The Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, Chief Executive Officer of Air India Express, Chief of Operations as well as the Chief of Flight Safety of Air India have already reached Calicut,” the airline reported.
DGCA has reported that the officials have recovered the aircraft’s Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR), otherwise known as the Black Box of the aircraft. The floorboard of the aircraft is also being cut open to get the last Cockpit Voice Recording to understand what happened during the mishap.
The Captain of the aircraft, Wing Commander Deepak Vasant Sathe, a former IAF officer lost his life on the impact. The first officer of the aircraft, Captain Akhilesh Kumar too, succumbed to death.
The pilots of the aircraft attempted two landings before they attempted for the tabletop runway but later aborted the same because of the tailwind.
“According to weather radar, the approach was for runway 28 but as pilots found difficulties they went around twice and came from the opposite side on runway 10 and the plane crash-landed at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport,” reported a senior investigating officer from DGCA.
Aside from the crash, latest reports suggest that two deceased passengers tested positive for Covid-19, leading to further quarantine of 50 passengers on the aircraft.
Furthermore, the retrieved Digital Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder will be brought to Delhi where further investigation will take place. Out of all the injured passengers, 22 are in critical condition and 22 of them have been discharged. All of them are admitted to the nearby hospitals in the Malappuram and Kozhikode districts.
Neela Sathe, the mother of the deceased Wing Commander Deepak Vasant Sathe stated saying, “He was a great son & always first one to help others in need. His teachers still appreciate him.”
The Union Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri has reached the site of the crash to further assess the damage and the situation.
By Somapika Dutta