Kozhikode, August 7: Two tragedies - a landslide in Idukki and plane crash in Kozhikode - within a span of 24 hours left Kerala sobbing on Friday. The first bad news came from Idukki where heavy rain followed by a landslide at Rajamalai left 15 persons dead, including a child. Kerala ended the day with another sad news after an aircraft of Air India Express crashed at Calicut International Airport, also known as Karipur Airport, after overshooting the runway. At least 14 people, including a pilot, have been killed in the mishap. Air India Express Flight IX-1344 Overshoots Runway at Calicut Airport in Kerala's Kozhikode; Watch Devastating Videos After The Plane Broke Into Two Pieces.
Following heavy rainfall, a landslide occurred at Rajamalai, nearly 30 km from the popular tourist destination Munnar, on Thursday night. By the end of Friday, authorities have recovered 15 bodies and rescued 12 others. More than 60 people remained missing. There were nearly 100 people in the locality, most of whom had returned to the area following the Covid scare. The landslide occurred after heavy rains over the last few days in the area mostly inhabited by tea estate workers.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the next of kin of those who died due to the landslide. "The state government will bear the expense of treatment of those injured," the Chief Minister added. He also said that bad weather conditions were hampering the rescue and relief operations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths and announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the next of kin of the victims. Idukki Landslide: Death Toll Rises to 15, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan Says 'Adverse Weather Condition Hampering Rescue Operation'.
Air India Express Plane Crash:
An Air India Express aircraft skidded off the runway while landing ar runway number 4 of Calicut International Airport in Kozhikode and plunged into the deep valley below. At least 14 people have died and 123 passengers were injured, Malappuram Superintendent of Police (SP) told news agency ANI. A pilot, DV Sathe, was among killed. The air mishap took place around 7:45 pm. The plane flew from Dubai and was carrying 190 people.
According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Air India Express AXB1344, a B737 aircraft, landed on runway 10 amid visibility of 2,000 metres in heavy rain, but continued running till the end of the runway, fell down in the valley and broke into two pieces. The flight was part of the Vande Bharat Mission, launched to evacuate Indians stranded in foreign countries due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown.
Air India Express Statement on Flight IX 1344:
Following the crash, Air India Express issued a statement. It reads: "Air India Express flight IX 1344 operated by B737 aircraft from Dubai to Kozhikode overshot runway at Kozhikode at 19:41 hrs tonight. No fire reported at the time of landing. There are 174 passengers, 10 infants, 2 pilots and 4 cabin crew onboard the aircraft. As per initial reports, rescue operations are on and passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care."
Helpline Numbers Issued:
The Kerala government and the Consulate General of India in Dubai issued helpline numbers for relatives of the passengers onboard the flight IX 1344. "Relatives of passengers onboard Air India Express Flight (IX 1344) that crashed at Karipur International Airport, can contact the following Helpline Number for enquiries - 0495 - 2376901," said a statement issued by the Kozhikode Collector. The Indian Consulate in Dubai issued multiple helpline numbers - 056 546 3903, 0543090572, 0543090572, 0543090575.
PM Narendra Modi Speaks to Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan:
After the Air India Express aircraft crashed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. In a tweet, PM Modi 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 @vijayanpinarayi Ji regarding the situation. Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected."
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 07, 2020 11:35 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).