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'Pained by Kozhikode Plane Crash': PM Modi and Political Leaders Express Anguish

Rescue workers look for survivors after the plane crashed at the Calicut International Airport in Karipur on Friday. (REUTERS/Stringer)

Rescue workers look for survivors after the plane crashed at the Calicut International Airport in Karipur on Friday. (REUTERS/Stringer)

A pilot was among 16 people killed in the crash and at least 35 people have been reported injured and shifted to various hospitals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday spoke to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on phone shortly after an Air India Express plane coming from Dubai overshot the runway at the Kozhikode airport.

A pilot was among 16 people killed in the crash and at least 35 people have been reported injured and shifted to various hospitals.

"Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. Spoke to Kerala CM @vijayanpinarayi Ji regarding the situation. Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected," he said.

Vijayan informed Modi that a team of officials, including Kozhikode and Malappuram district collectors and IG Ashok Yadav, are at the airport to participate in the rescue operation. Vijayan has instructed police and fire force to take urgent action and also asked the officials to make necessary arrangements for rescue and medical support.

Reacting to the situation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah directed the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to rush to the spot.

"Distressed to learn about the tragic accident of Air India Express aircraft in Kozhikode, Kerala. Have instructed NDRF to reach the site at the earliest and assist with the rescue operations," Shah tweeted.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed grief and shock over the incident as he said, "Shocked at the devastating news of the plane mishap in Kozhikode. Deepest condolences to the friends and family of those who died in this accident. Prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured."

President Ram Nath Kovind said he was deeply distressed to hear about the tragic plane accident and that he spoke to Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan and enquired about the situation there. "Deeply distressed to hear about the tragic plane crash of Air India Express flight at Kozhikode, Kerala. Spoke to @KeralaGovernor Shri Arif Mohammed Khan and inquired about the situation. Thoughts and prayers with affected passengers, crew members and their families," the President tweeted. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar were among the host of leaders who condoled the loss of lives. BJP chief JP Nadda also expressed grief over the incident. "Saddened to learn about the tragic accident of Air India Express aircraft in Kozhikode, Kerala. Hon Home Minister @Amitshah Ji has given direction to the concerned agencies for rescue program. I pray for the safety of passengers," he said on Twitter.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh condoled the loss of lives in the untoward incident and prayed for the speedy recovery of those injured. "Devastating news from Kozhikode, Kerala. I am deeply anguished by the loss of lives due to an accident carrying several passengers on Air India flight. In this hour of grief, my thoughts are with the bereaved families. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured." he wrote.

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said it was a "tragic day" for Kerala and hoped that rescue efforts will succeed in saving all the passengers. "Tragic day for Kerala. First the deaths in Munnar & now this: I hear both pilots have died. Hope rescue efforts will succeed in saving all the passengers," the MP from Thiruvananthapuram tweeted soon after the news of the accident broke. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said, "My heart goes out to the crew and passengers of the Air India plane that has crashed in Calicut and to their families. Our prayers are with you at this tragic and painful moment."

BJP leader and former Union minister Alphons K J said this was the second tragedy of the day in Kerala after the landslide in Rajamalai. "Air India Express skids off the run way at Kozhikode, front portion splits, pilot dies and lots of passengers injured. All passengers evacuated. Very lucky the aircraft didn't catch fire," he said on Twitter.