It was around 7.40 p.m. when a devastating plane crash shook Kerala's Kozhikode on Friday. It claimed at least 19 lives while over 100 people were hospitalized post injuries. There were a total of 174 adults, 10 infants and six crew members onboard the Dubai-Calicut Air IndiaExpress flight.
The shocking images of the plane splitting into two created havoc as uncertainty loomed large over the survivors in the accident. It gave chills, to say the least.
What happened during the final moments
It was past 7 in the evening. The Boeing 737 jet, on a Vande Bharat mission as flight AIX 1344 from Dubai, was bringing in Indians who were stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At around 7.40 pm, while it was raining in Kerala, the plane had to land at the Karipur International Airport. Usually, passengers begin removing their seat belts when a flight is about to land. It is quite possible that passengers had begun readying themselves for the landing.
According to Flightradar24, that tracks flights in real-time, the aircraft tried to land twice at the tabletop airport. The data showed the plane looping around the airport before attempting to land.
However, the flight skidded off the hilltop runway and split into two while landing during heavy rain at the airport. It went down 35 feet into a slope before breaking up into two pieces. Captain Deepak Sathe, the pilot-in-command, and his co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar were among those who died. Sathe was a former Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and had served at the force's flight testing establishment.
Officials said further damage was averted as the plane didn't catch fire, which usually is the case during a crash. "Our task would have been much more difficult if the plane had caught fire," Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said.