NEW DELHI (AP) — An Air India Express flight with 190 people on board skidded off a runway and split in two while landing Friday in heavy rain in southern India, an official said. A lawmaker said both pilots were dead, and news reports said several dozen people were injured.
Rajiv Jain, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Ministry, said no fire was reported on the Boeing 737 aircraft after it landed and broke into two pieces. He said details about injuries were not immediately confirmed.
Shashi Tharoor, a Congress party lawmaker from the state, said the two pilots were killed. The NDTV news channel said 30-40 people were hospitalized and that other passengers had been evacuated from the aircraft.
It said the plane flew from Dubai to Kozhikode, also called Calicut, in the state of Kerala in southern India.
It was a repatriation flight carrying Indian citizens back to country, officials said. Regular commercial flights have been halted in India because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Jain said there were 174 adult passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and four cabin crew on board the aircraft.
Amitabh Kant, who heads the government’s planning commission, said the runway is on a hilltop with deep gorges on either side, making it difficult to land.
“The incident happened because of heavy rains and poor visibility. This is truly devastating,” he told NDTV.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah said in a tweet that he was “distressed to learn about the tragic accident of Air India Express aircraft at Kozhikode.”
Air India Express is a subsidiary of Air India.
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