Indian Consulate in Dubai sets up helpline for Air India Express plane crash

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The Indian Consulate in Dubai set up a dedicated helpline to provide information related to the Air India Express plane which crashed in southern India, killing at least 16 people and injuring 123 others who were aboard the repatriation flight.

“Air India Express Flight No IX 1344 from Dubai to Calicut skidded off the runway. We pray for wellbeing of passengers and crew and will keep you updated as and when we receive further updates. Our helplines 056 546 3903, 0543090572, 0543090572, 0543090575,” the consulate said on Twitter.

It added in another tweet: “As per latest info from state authorities, search and rescue operation is over and all injured have been shifted to various hospitals like MIMS, Aster, etc. and in Mallapuram. Air India Dubai helpline +97142079444. CGI Dubai expresses it's deep condolences for deceased passengers.”

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The consulate also announced that it will be open on Saturday “to assist all who want any assistance to travel to Kerala or any information related to air crash incident.”

The repatriation flight carrying Indians stranded abroad because of the coronavirus pandemic back home skidded off a hilltop runway and split in two while landing Friday in heavy rain in the southern state of Kerala

The dead included one of the pilots of the Air India Express flight, and at least 15 of the injured were in critical condition, said Abdul Karim, a senior Kerala state police officer. Rescue operations were over, he said.

The 2-year-old Boeing 737-800 flew from Dubai to Kozhikode, also called Calicut, in Kerala, India’s southernmost state, the airline said.

Dubai-based aviation consultant Mark Martin said that while it was too early to determine the cause of the crash, annual monsoon conditions appeared to be a factor.

“Low visibility, wet runway, low cloud base, all leading to very poor braking action is what looks like led to where we are at the moment with this crash,” Martin said, calling for the European Aviation Safety Agency and the US Federal Aviation Administration to assist with the Indian government's investigation.

The Air India Express flight was part of the Indian government's special repatriation mission to bring Indian citizens back to the country, officials said. All of the passengers were returning from the Gulf region, authorities said. Regular commercial flights have been halted in India because of the coronavirus outbreak.

There were 174 adult passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and four cabin crew on board the aircraft, Jain said.

- With The Associated Press

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