India warns against plane crash rumors

Source: AFP Published: 2020/8/9 16:53:41

Photo taken on Aug. 8, 2020 shows debris of the Air India Express flight that skidded off a runway while landing at Kozhikode Airport in the Indian state of Kerela. The death toll in Friday evening's plane crash in south India has risen to 18, including the two pilots, as two investigating teams have reached the site to find out the exact reason of the mishap. (Str/Xinhua)

India's civil aviation minister on Saturday warned against speculation over the cause of a disaster in which at least 18 people died after an Air India Express jet overshot a runway in a storm and plunged down a bank.

Critics have raised questions about potentially dangerous conditions at Kozhikode airport in the southern state of Kerala, where the Boeing 737 crash-landed with 190 passengers and crew aboard.

The plane's black box recorders have been recovered, and will be examined as part of the investigation.

Reports have said the pilots made two attempts to land in the fierce winds and rain before crash, while opposition politicians highlighted warnings that had reportedly been made about the Kozhikode runway. 

Minister Hardeep Singh Puri acknowledged that issues had been "routinely red flagged" by the civil aviation authority about the runway used in the crash but they had been "addressed" by the airport owner.  

He added on Twitter: "I will encourage all to exercise patience and refrain from making speculative observations bordering on the irresponsible."

Some 149 people were still in local hospitals after the crash of the special flight from Dubai to bring back Indians stranded by the coronavirus pandemic.

The jet plunged more than 10 meters down an embankment and broke in two.

Kozhikode is considered a tricky airport as it is built on a hill and has a "table-top" runway with a steep drop at one end.

In 2017, a Spicejet Bombardier Q-400 plane carrying 75 people came off the same runway when it was wet and hit lights on the edge.


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