Black box of ill-fated Air India flight IX-1344 recovered
Air India’s black box flight IX-1344 which crashed in Kerala killing at least 18 people has been retrieved, said Saturday the Indian Aviation Minister. The plane transporting 190 passengers plunged on Friday night amid poor weather and broke in two, damaging passenger numbers.
On a special flight from Dubai to carry back Indians trapped by the coronavirus pandemic, the Boeing 737 overshot the runway at Kozhikode in the state of Kerala, fell down an embankment and broke down. “Gas had spilled out and it was a blessing the plane didn’t catch Fire Rescue, the loss might have been even greater,” said one senior scene rescue official.
Aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri visited the site on Saturday, revealing that the flight data and voice recorders for the cockpit had been identified to further ascertain the cause of the accident. The Bureau of Inquiry into Aircraft Crash was undertaking the review, he added. Kozhikode is considered a tricky airport, because at one end it has a table-top runway with a steep drop.
Over recent days, Kerala has been struck by extreme flooding and heavy rains had dropped at Kozhikode for many hours, when the plane landed. Puri placed the new death toll at 18, while officials said there were 22 patients in hospital in serious condition. The deaths involved both pilots and four babies. Passenger Renjith Panangad, 34, recalled the plane hitting the ground and everything afterwards.
“The ambulance door opened after the accident, and I somehow pulled myself out,” he told AFP from a hospital bed in Kozhikode. “The front of the plane was missing — everything’s gone absolutely. I don’t know how I managed everything, so I’m thankful. I’m shook now.” The effect was so severe that the Boeing 737 ‘s nose ended about 20 meters (yards) from the back half of the plane.
“What we could hear were cries all over. People everywhere were covered in blood, some had bruises, some were unconscious,” said local resident Fazal Puthiyakath, who was one of the first to be on stage.