The flight data recorders of the Air India Express flight that broke after skidding off a tabletop runway amid heavy rain at Kozhikode Airport in Kerala late Friday evening have been found.
The recorders – a digital flight data recorder (DFDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) store crucial information about an aircraft’s altitude, position and speed, as well as recordings of conversations between pilots , and are essential in helping aviation investigators understand what happened to Flight IX-1344.
Eighteen people, including the two pilots, were killed after the flight from Dubai, which was carrying 190 people, skidded, overstepped the runway and slipped into a valley at 7:41 p.m. on Friday.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, expected this afternoon in Kozhikode, has ordered an investigation.
The pilots, including a decorated former fighter pilot, had aborted two landings due to tailwind and circled the airport several times before the final landing. The region had been hit by torrential rains since Thursday.
“According to the weather radar, the approach was for runway 28 but as the pilots were having difficulty they made two roundabouts and came from the opposite side on runway 10 and the plane crashed”, reported l ANI news agency quoting an investigator from the general management. of civil aviation (DGCA).
The officer said the plane was at full speed upon landing and continued to the edge of the runway and fell into the valley.
Dubai flight IX-1344 was operating as part of the Vande Bharat mission to repatriate Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus lockdowns. There were 184 people on board, including 4 cabin crew.
Air India Express, a 100% subsidiary of Air India, has only B-737s in its fleet.
Kozhikode Airport, carved into the top of a hill with limited space at the end of the runway, is one of Kerala’s most important international terminals and handles many flights from overseas.
In 2010, an Air India Express flight crashed at Mangaluru International Airport under similar circumstances, killing 158 people.
The flight from Dubai had overstepped the runway and plunged down the cliff into a wooded valley. An investigation revealed that the captain misjudged the height during landing, which led to the flight overshooting the runway on a plateau.
Reports said authorities had not acted on a proposal to install a system at Kozhikode to prevent planes from diving from the edge.
Helpline: Air India Express – 1800 2222 71, Airport Control Room – 0483 2719493, Malappuram Collectorate – 0483 2736320, Kozhikode Collectorate – 0495 2376901.