The flight data recorders of the Air India Express flight that broke into pieces after it skidded off a tabletop runway amid heavy rain at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport late Friday evening have been found.
The recorders – a Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) store crucial information about a plane’s altitude, position and speed, as well as records of conversations between the pilots, and are critical in helping aviation investigators understand what happened to flight IX-1344.
Eighteen people, including both pilots, were killed after the flight from Dubai, which was carrying 190 people, skidded, overshot the runway and slid into a valley at 7.41 PM Friday.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who is expected in Kozhikode this afternoon, has ordered an investigation.
The pilots, one of them a decorated former fighter pilot, had aborted two landings due to tailwind and had circled the airport several times before the final landing. The area had been slammed by torrential rains since Thursday.
“According to weather radar, the approach was for runway 28 but as the pilots faced difficulties, they went around twice and came from the opposite side on runway 10 and the plane crash-landed,” news agency ANI quoted an investigator of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) as saying.
The officer said the aircraft was at full speed while landing and continued to the edge of the runway and fell over in the valley.
Flight IX-1344 from Dubai was operating under the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indians stranded abroad because of the coronavirus lockdowns. There were 184 people on board, including 10 babies and 4 cabin crew.
Air India Express, a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India, has only B-737 aircraft in its fleet.
Helplines: Air India Express – 1800 2222 71, Airport Control Room – 0483 2719493, Malappuram Collectorate – 0483 2736320, Kozhikode Collectorate – 0495 2376901.