'Felt a strange vibration,' Kerala plane crash survivors recall horror
A day after the tragic crash of an Air India Express flight in Kerala's Kozhikode, survivors recalled what happened moments before the aircraft overshot the runway and fell into a valley. Speaking to The News Minute, some passengers aboard the Dubai-Kozhikode flight said that the aircraft first landed and then sped up again before it eventually crashed. Here's what the survivors had to say.
The flight IX-1344 from Dubai was operating under the Indian government's Vande Bharat mission to repatriate Indians stuck abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Friday evening, the plane—carrying 184 passengers and six crew members—attempted to land amid bad weather and overshot the runway at the tabletop airport, falling into a valley and breaking into pieces. 18, including both pilots, were reportedly killed.
A passenger, who was seated in the front of the aircraft and survived, told TNM, "After the landing announcement it took some time to land. We were all scared as there was a delay in landing." She added, "Finally when it landed we were all relaxed. But after that, the speed increased and we just heard a sound."
Hareendran, a native of Thalassery who was also aboard flight IX-1344, told the publication that the plane was moving slowly through the runway when suddenly the speed increased. He said, "We felt a strange vibration and held onto our seats tightly." Hareendran said he was seated at the rear of the aircraft. "People at the back were not so seriously injured," he added.
Another survivor, who is currently admitted to Aster MIMS hospital in Kozhikode, told NDTV, "This is a huge tragedy. We had put our hands on the seat in front of us to balance ourselves while trying to survive the fall." "Everyone around was crying," he said, "It's surreal what has happened... like it was a dream. Perhaps, it was God's will."
Apart from those deceased, around 127 people have reportedly been injured and are undergoing treatment at 13 hospitals in and around Kozhikode. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is also leading an investigation into what led to the crash. Earlier on Saturday, the digital flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder from the Air India flight had been recovered.
Meanwhile, National Disaster Response Force Director Satya Pradhan told NDTV, "There have been trauma injuries to almost all the passengers because of the landing impact." He added, "I must praise the local administration and volunteers at the airport did a stellar job during the rescue operations. We are grateful that the plane did not catch fire. The tragedy could have been much worse."