Former IAF pilot Deepak Vasant Sathe flying Air India Express plane killed in Kozhikode crash

In a tragic mishap, former Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Deepak Vasant Sathe, who was flying the Air India Express plane, was killed on Friday evening in the Kozhikode crash in Kerala. Over a dozen people, including Sathe pilot, were killed and many injured when the flight with 190 people on board skid off the runway of the Kozhikode airport. The injured have been taken to multiple hospitals and the dead to Kondotti hospital.

A former IAF Wing Commander, Captain Sathe was commissioned into service on June 11, 1981, and retired on June 30, 2003. He flew through the Airbus 310 for Air India before moving to Air India Express on the Boeing 737. Captain Sathe has won the sword of honour at the Air Force Academy and was accomplished fighter pilot. He was also a HAL test pilot.

A total of 190 people–184 passengers, including ten infants, two pilots, and four cabin crew were onboard the aircraft. The flight, IX-1344, bound for Kozhikode from Dubai skidded during landing at the Karipur Airport at around 7.45 pm, said the Kondotty Police. The authorities have issued helpline numbers-0543090572, 0543090573, 0543090575 and 0565463903.

The Indian embassy in Dubai tweeted, “Air India Express Flight No IX 1344  from Dubai to Calicut skidded off the runway. We pray for well being of passengers and crew and will keep you updated as and when we receive further updates.Our helplines 056 546 3903, 0543090572, 0543090572, 0543090575.”

“Air India Express has also established helpline number in Sharjah at 00971 6 5970303.  People can call them as well for updates. Full details of injured and casualties are awaited,” it further tweeted.

Karipur Airport control room opens helpline number 04832719493 for more information on Air India Express plane accident. 

“There were total 184 passengers, including 10 infants and six crew members, including two pilots, onboard Dubai-Kozhikode Air India flight (IX-1344) that skidded during landing at Karipur Airport today,” said the Air India Express. The plane has broken into two parts. 

The plane fell around 35 feet down and apparently the front half took the damage but people in the rear half have survived. The Kozhikode International Airport, also known, as Karipur Airport is a tabletop airport. The flight was flying the Centre’s Vande Bharat Mission. 

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said, “A Dubai-Kozhikode Air India Express flight fell down into the valley after landing at Runway 10 of Karipur Airport & broke down in two pieces. There were 191 people on board. Visibility was 2000 meter and heavy rain at the time of landing.” The DGCA has ordered a detailed inquiry into the matter.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General SN Pradhan said, “Teams of NDRF are being rushed to Karipur Airport where the Dubai-Kozhikode flight skidded off the runway, for search and rescue.”

Expressing shock over the tragic mishap, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has asked all government agencies to engage in rescue operations using all government facilities. The Kerala CM has directed immediate rescue measures in the plane crash. The CM has deputed AC Moideen, minister for local bodies, to coordinate the rescue operations. Moideen has already left for Karipur from Thrissur. The CM also has deputed an IG of Police to oversee the rescue operation. Fire and Rescue teams of two districts also have been engaged.

Health authorities have been instructed to provide all possible medical aid to save lives of victims. The Police warm-up led by IG and fire and rescue team from two districts has started rescue operations. It is also proposed to set up the necessary health system and all the mechanisms of the state government should be used for disaster relief.

Vijayan also said, “Have instructed Police and Fire Force to take urgent action in the wake of the plane crash at the Kozhikode International airport (CCJ) in Karipur. Have also directed the officials to make necessary arrangements for rescue and medical support.”

PM Narendra Modi spoke to Kerala CM on phone about Karipur plane crash. The CM informed PM Modi that a team of officials including Kozhikode and Malappuram District Collectors and IG Ashok Yadav have arrived at the airport to participate in the rescue operation.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation Additional DG Media Rajeev Jain said, “Air India Express flight IX 1344 operated by B737 aircraft from Dubai to Calicut overshot runway at Kozhikode at 1941 hrs tonight. No fire reported at the time of landing. There are 174 passengers, 10 Infants, 2 Pilots and 5 cabin crew onboard the aircraft. Total 191. As per the initial reports, rescue operations are on and  Passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care. We will soon share the update in this regard.”

Source: zeenews

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