Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Saturday said the Kerala plane crash appears to have been caused by a slippery runway as the Air India Express pilot attempted to land on the table top runway amid heavy rains.
"Under the Vande Bharat Mission, the flight was coming from Dubai carrying 190 passengers. Pilot must have tried to bring the flight to the end of tabletop airport's runway where it skidded due to slippery conditions owing to monsoon," he said.
The death toll in the flight crash at the Karipur airport near Kozhikode has risen to 18. Malappuram District Collector K Gopalakrishnan told reporters here that one more passenger had succumbed to injuries. Except one, all those who had perished in the accident have been identified, he said.
At least 16 other passengers of the ill-fated flight are said to be in a critical condition after the flight from Dubai with 190 onboard overshot the tabletop runway while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two portions on Friday night.
The pilot-in-command Captain Deepak Sathe and his co- pilot Akhilesh Kumar were among those who lost their lives.
Union Minister V Muraleedharan reached the city from Delhi. Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan are also expected to reach the airport by around 10 AM.
An Air India Express statement on Saturday said Chairman and Managing Director of Air India, Chief Officer of the Air India Express, Chief of Operations and Chief of Flight Safety of AIX have already reached the airport here.
Special relief flights have been arranged from Delhi and one from Mumbai for rendering humanitarian assistance to all the passengers and their family members, the statement said.
The Emergency Response Director is coordinating with all the agencies in Kozhikode, Mumbai and Delhi for effective emergency response.
The AAIB (Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau), DGCA and Flight Safety department have reached the city to investigate the accident,the statement said.