An Air India Express Boeing 737 has crashed while landing at Kozhikode Airport on the South West coast of India. The flight took off at 14:14 local time in Dubai and crash-landed at approximately 19:40 local time at Kozhikode.
According to a statement from Air India Express, a total of 190 souls were onboard the aircraft. This included 174 passengers, 10 infants, 4 members of cabin crew, and two pilots.
Air India Express Statement regarding incident involving Air India Express at Kozhikode pic.twitter.com/UPOE0y5TEr
— Air India Express (@FlyWithIX) August 7, 2020
35 additional people who were on board the aircraft have been taken to hospital with injuries. It should be noted that in the initial aftermath of such a crash, details can change quickly as the situation evolves, and information is verified. According to the Indian Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri, confirmed earlier that there were at least 11 deaths, but the Hindustan Times has since recorded 20 fatalities.
We are in touch with local authorities. State police have reported 11 deaths. Relief teams from Air India & AAI are being immediately dispatched from Delhi & Mumbai. All efforts being made to help passengers.
A formal enquiry will be conducted by AAIB.
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) August 7, 2020
Images from the incident show a scene of devastation, with the aircraft completely ripped apart by the impact. The cockpit appears to have completely separated from the rear of the aircraft, with the fuselage being broken into two.
The flight involved in the seemingly tragic accident was Air India Express flight IX1344. The trip, believed to be a part of the Indian Vande Bharat repatriation mission, was en route from Dubai (DXB) in the United Arab Emirates to Kozhikode (CCJ) in India.
The aircraft involved is a Boeing 737-800 registered as VT-AXH. The plane is 13.7 years old, having been delivered to Air India Express in November 2006. According to data from Seat Guru, Air India Express Boeing 737-800s have 181 passenger seats in an all-economy configuration.
A runway excursion?
Several reports are suggesting that the aircraft attempted to land on the runway and skidded past the end, having touched down. Additionally, the Hindustan Times alleges that the plane skidded off the runway due to rains from the monsoon season, and fell into a 35-foot deep gorge.
Earlier this year, a Boeing 737-800 belonging to Pegasus Airlines was similarly ripped apart after running off the end of the landing runway at an airport in the Turkish city of Istanbul. In the Pegasus crash earlier this year, the front of the aircraft separated from the rest of the fuselage in a similar manner.
According to data from FlightRadar24.com, the aircraft departed from Dubai at 14:14 this afternoon. Following a flight time of 3-hours and 56-minutes flight, the plane attempted its landing at 19:40. The flight-tracking service lost coverage of the aircraft just before its arrival. It does, however, show the aircraft flying around the airport several times before attempting its fateful landing. FlightRadar24.com confirmed on Twitter that having studied its collected data, no further data relating to the crash could be produced.
Altogether, the Simple Flying team would like to express its condolences to all those affected by the crash.
This post was last updated at 20:45 UTC