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Air India Express Flight 1344: 18 Dead, 149 Injured

Days after the crash of Air India Express Flight 1344, we now know the human toll of the accident. According to the airline, 18 people were killed in the accident, including the lives of the two pilots. Additionally, 171 passengers were injured, with 149 requiring hospitalization. The investigation is ongoing.

While the investigation as to how Air India Express Flight 1344 overran the runway at Calicut International Airport (CCJ) in Kozhikode continues, we now know the human toll of the accident. In two separate announcements on social media, the carrier confirmed 18 people were killed in the incident and 171 were injured in the accident.

18 Killed Include Pilot and Co-Pilot of Aircraft

Among those killed in the accident were those in control of the aircraft. Over the weekend, the airline confirmed that the pilot, Deepak Vasant Sathe, and co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar died after the aircraft overran the runway and broke up in a valley.

Sathe was described by the airline as “an experienced Boeing 737-800 aircraft pilot and had earlier also flown the Airbus A310.” Prior to his career as an airline aviator, the airline described him as an experienced fighter pilot who earned the sword of honor from the Indian Air Force Academy in Hyderabad. The airline did not go into the same detail for the co-pilot.

The majority of the 18 killed were flying back to their hometown of Kozhikode as part of the airline’s “Vande Bharat Mission” repatriation flights. The deceased range from a young as one and two years old, to 59 years old. Remarkably, the four flight attendants aboard the flight were not among the lost souls.

Additionally, the district collector noted there were 171 injured associated with the accident. Of those, 149 passengers were taken to local hospitals for treatment, while 22 were treated on site and returned home. An additional 22 passengers were critically injured from the accident. Of those who were taken to hospitals, 56 have been released.



Eighteen people including…

Posted by Air India Express on Friday, August 7, 2020

“Tabletop Runway” at Calicut Considered Among the Most Dangerous in India

The accident took place when the pilots attempted to land at a “tabletop runway,” which has limited space at both ends of the landing surface. A previous report discovered by the Hindustan Times discovered these particular runways are dangerous for larger aircraft, due to their reduced surface space for takeoffs and landings. Moreover, many are comparing this accident to the Air India Express Flight 812 incident in 2010, another flight from Dubai that crashed after overrunning a tabletop runway.

“There are three tabletop airports in India from where scheduled flights operate. These are Mangalore, Kozhikode and Lengpui,” the Indian air marshal wrote in their report. “Because of the undulating terrain and constraints of space, these airfields require extra skill and caution while carrying out flight operations. The hazard of undershooting and overshooting, in particular, can lead to grave situations, as was the case in [Air India Express Flight 812 in 2010].”

According to investigators, heavy rain and visibility may have contributed to the accident, causing the Boeing 737-800 to overrun the airport. The investigation into the flight is ongoing.

Editor’s Note: The feature image shows Air India Express aircraft VT-AXH, the Boeing 737-800 involved in the accident. Feature image courtesy Konstantin von Wedelstaedt, via Wikimedia Commons (GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2)