Repatriation flight ends in tragedy as Air India 737 crashes killing 18 passengers and crew

An Air India Express Boeing 737 repatriation flight carrying 190 passengers and crew has crashed at Calicut International airport, killing 18 passengers and crew, including both pilots. The plane, arriving from Dubai, was making its second attempt to land in poor conditions on the ‘table-top’ runway on August 7, when it shot off the end of the runway and broke into two sections.

A table-top runway is a term used to describe a runway which has a relatively steep drop at either one, or both ends. In this instance, the plane sheared in two as it slid off the runway into a 35-foot valley below. The plane had aborted an initial approach to the runway in heavy rain and a strong headwind, while its second approach was made from the opposite direction and, consequently, with a tail wind.

“Because of the weather conditions, he could not land the first time, so he did a turnaround and tried to approach it from a different direction,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri explained to the Indian national broadcaster DD News, while also stating that only an investigation will be able to reveal the true cause of the crash. He added that “The good news is that the plane broke up and we were able to access the passengers,” adding that rescue operations had been completed.

Boeing is currently gathering as much information on the crash as it can, closely monitoring the operation while offering assistance to Air India.

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