The trajectory of the Air India Express flight which tragically overshot the runway on Friday evening in Kerala shows that the pilots had circled twice before finally attempting to land. The repatriation flight from Dubai to Kozhikode crashed upon landing, claiming 18 lives on Friday and injuring many others.
The plane’s trajectory, as seen on publicly available flight radars, shows the flight crossing the Karipur Airport, going ahead, taking a U-turn, heading back towards Karipur, taking a deviation to the left, then heading out over the Arabian Sea, taking a U-turn again. The aircraft then headed back and landed at Karipur when it overshot the runway upon landing and plunged 30 feet over the tabletop runway at the Calicut International Airport.
See trajectory here:
The pilots had initially attempted to land once, which, according to reports, was about 20 minutes prior to the landing.
The flight then takes the detour, circles and then returns to Karipur.
At least 17 people have been killed in the crash, and many injured. The pilot and co-pilot of the flight have also been reported dead — Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe and First Officer Akhilesh Kumar.
The flight was reportedly carrying 174 passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and five cabin crew on board.
According to reports, the aircraft skidded off the tabletop runaway as it was landing at Kozhikode International Airport on Friday around 7.40 pm, and crashed 30 feet below.
According to visuals of the incident, the aircraft split into three as a result of the impact, and serious damage was caused to the cockpit. At the time, there was poor visibility due to heavy rains in the region.
"As per the initial reports, rescue operations are on and passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care," the Civil Aviation ministry noted.
The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the flight — IX 1344 — continued running to the end of the runway amid heavy rain and “fell down in the valley and broke down in two pieces.”
The Air India Express is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Air India and it has only B737 aircraft in its fleet.
Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
However, since May 6, special repatriation flights have been operated by Air India and Air India Express under the Vande Bharat Mission to help stranded people reach their destinations. Private carriers have also operated a certain number of flights under this mission.
(The article was originally published in The News Minute and has been reposted with permission.)
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