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Thiruvananthapuram, August 7, 2020
An Air India Express aircraft from Dubai, with 191 people on board, skidded off the runway and its fuselage split into two while landing at the Kozhikode International Airport this evening, sources said.
Initial reports suggested that three persons have died and about 35 others suffered injuries.
About 25 ambulances were pressed into service immediately and rushed the injured persons to hospital.
Local people rushed to the scene and joined the rescue efforts and many of the injured were first rushed to the airport arrival lounge and then shifted to hospital.
There were 184 passengers on board, including ten children and infants, and seven members of crew, sources said.
The mishap occurred at around 7.41 pm when the Boeing 737 aircraft, with call sign VT GHK and operating flight IX 1344 from Dubai to Kozhikode, came into land at the Kozhikode airport, or Karipur airport as it is known locally, which is a "table-top" airport, on top of a hill. Visibility was said to be poor at that time.
The aircraft is understood to have rolled down some distance down the hillside after overshooting the runway, bringing back memories of the crash of an Air India Express aircraft at Mangalore airport ten years ago.
There was no fire after the aircraft skidded, Air India Express said.
The incident has come on a day when Kerala is reeling under heavy rains and floods in many parts.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed shock over the mishap and asked all government agencies to join the rescue operations using all available facilities.
Vijayan has deputed A C Moideen, Minister for Local Bodies, to coordinate the rescue operations. The Minister has already left for Karipur from Thrissur.
The Chief Minister has also deputed an Inspector-General of Police to oversee the rescue operations. Fire and Rescue teams from Kozhikode and Malappuram districts have been pressed into service.
Health authorities have been instructed to provide all possible medical aid to save lives of victims.