Mangalore, May 22-Apparanda Chitra of Kakkabbe Village in North Kodagu, her husband Jayaram from Kankanady here and their son Rahul were among the 160 passengers killed as an Air India Express flight Boeing 737-800, carrying 163 passengers and six crew members overshot the runway at the newly-built Bajpe airport near here at 6.30 am this morning and caught fire.
The cause of crash hasn’t been made known yet. But there is speculation that it was because of pilot error. The pilot reportedly missed the threshold point of landing and overshot the runway by 2000 ft. A survivor, who works in mechanical sector, said the plane had landed on the runway and lost control after a tyre burst.
Many of the passengers were reported to be workers returning home from jobs in the Gulf.
Jayaram (42), his wife Chitra (40) and their only son Rahul (5) were returning to their native place from Dubai.
Speaking to SOM over phone, Chitra's brother Apparanda Venu said that Jayaram was working with one of the leading advertising agencies in Dubai and had recently changed jobs. He was coming home with his family for a welcome break before going back to Dubai to take up his new assignment.
A child aged between 2 and 3 years old is believed to have survived. Krishnan, Pradip, Mohammad Abdul, Joel Pratap D’Souza, Mayan Kutty, Umar Farooq and a medical student Sabrina Haq are the others believed to have survived.
The pilot, a Serbian expat identified as F. Glusica, and the co-pilot, an Indian named S.S. Ahluwalia, also died in the crash.
One of the survivors, Umar Farooq, said, "There was a sound after the landing, then the plane appeared to lose control and soon we were heading into the trees. The plane crashed with a huge sound and then there was smoke in the cabin. I saw a crack in the fuselage and I jumped through it and fell a few feet. Many were still stuck. Rescue vehicles could not reach the site, and I was brought to hospital on a bike by the local residents. My hands were badly burnt."
Dr. Dinesh Kadam of A.J. Hospital said that Farooq, Dr. Sabrina Haq and 4-year-old baby girl were brought to the hospital for treatment. Dr. Sabrina was being treated for a fractured leg sustained while jumping off and Farooq was being treated for minor injuries. The little girl whose name is yet to be identified was tragically declared dead when she was brought to the hospital.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh has announced a solatium of Rs. 2 lakh each for the family of the victims and Rs. 50,000 for each of the victims, from Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
About 25 fire tenders and ambulances are at the crash site. Rescue operations were hampered by the thick smoke that engulfed the plane. The airport at Bajpe, about 30 km from Mangalore, is in a hilly area and considered one of the most difficult airports to take off and land.
According to Mangalore SP Subramaneshwar Rao, "Chances of finding many survivors are very bleak as most of the plane has been burnt out."
Courtesy : Star Of Mysore