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Kozhikode plane crash: AI Express says 3 relief flights arranged to assist passengers, families

Air India Express said on Saturday that three relief flights had been arranged to Kozhikode in Kerala to assist passengers and their family members affected by the plane crash a day ago.

Officials said Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri would go to Kozhikode on Saturday.

The Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 on board overshot the tabletop runway at Kozhikode airport on Friday night while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two, killing at least 18 people.

Air India Chairman and Managing Director Rajiv Bansal, and Air India Express Chief Executive Officer K Shyam Sundar have already reached Kozhikode, according to a statement.

Bansal, along with senior airline officials, “rushed” to the accident site “to take stock of the situation and are being briefed by experts”, Air India tweeted.

Two special relief flights have been arranged from Delhi and one from Mumbai for rendering humanitarian assistance to all the passengers and the family members, Air India Express, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the national carrier, said.

“The Emergency Response Director is coordinating with all the agencies in Calicut (Kozhikode), Mumbai as well as Delhi, Dubai for effective emergency response,” it said in a statement.

“The AAIB (Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau), DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) & Flight Safety Departments have reached for investigating the accident,” it added.

The airline said its chief of operations and the chief of flight safety had already reached Kozhikode.

“The four cabin crew members are confirmed safe,” it said.

The aircraft was a Boeing 737.

Expressing “deepest condolences” to the families of those who have lost their lives in the accident, aircraft manufacturer Boeing said it is in contact with the Air India team and have offered to support them in any way possible.

“Boeing is prepared to provide a technical team to assist the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, in accordance with ICAO Annex 13 guidelines, as The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of India conducts its investigation,” the US-based company said.

Scheduled international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in India since March 23 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

However, special repatriation flights have been operated by Air India and Air India Express since May 6 under the Vande Bharat Mission to help stranded people reach their destinations.

Private carriers have also operated a certain number of flights under this mission.

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