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At least 16 dead after Air India Express plane crash lands at airport

The Hill logo The Hill 8/7/2020 J. Edward Moreno
At least 16 dead after Air India Express plane crash lands at airport © YouTube/Gulf News At least 16 dead after Air India Express plane crash lands at airport

An Air India Express flight with 190 people on board including crew skidded off the runway and split in two while landing in the city of Kozhikode in southern India on Friday, the airline said in a statement.

At least 16 people were killed and 123 were injured, with 15 of those in serious condition, the Times of India reported. Rescuers were still searching for victims.

One of the two pilots, Deepak Vasant Sathe, is among those who died, according to Indian TV network NDTV. He was a decorated Air Force pilot before flying commercial planes, the network noted.

According to the airline, there were 10 infants on board. The flight was arriving in Kozhikode from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The Indian city is also known by its anglicized name, Calicut.

It was a repatriation flight, carrying Indian citizens who were working in Dubai back to the country, according to the Times of India.

Photos and videos of the incident show the plane's fuselage broken into at least two pieces, but there are no reports of fires.

Officials told several media outlets that rain contributed to low visibility on the runway, where it is already difficult to land because it is on a hilltop with deep gorges on both side.

"Very sad to know of this mishap.All our feelings are with the passengers and their families. [The government] is taking all steps," Arif Mohammed Khan, governor of the state of Kerala, said in a statement on Twitter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode."

"My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest," he said in a statement.

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