The death toll in a repatriation plane crash in India rises to 18

. EFE / EPA / PRAKASH ELAMAKKARA (PRAKASH ELAMAKKARA /)

New Delhi, August 8 (EFE) .- Indian authorities increased the death toll to 18 this Saturday in the crash of a repatriation plane flying from Dubai to the southern city of Kozhikode, which left the runway at land and has been split in two, while dozens of passengers remain hospitalized.
“Unfortunately, 18 people, including the two pilots, lost their lives. 127 people are still in hospitals,” Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told the local ANI agency.
The aviation minister reported on Twitter from the scene of the incident that the plane’s black box has been recovered and that the Indian Air Accident Investigation Office (AAIB) is investigating what happened.
Puri shared images of the plane split in two, the cabin several meters from the rest of the plane, as well as the mess of seats, parts of the fuselage and clothes scattered in the mud between the two parts.
Abdul Karim, the police superintendent of the city of Mallapuram, near Kozhikode international airport and where part of the wounded were transferred, told Efe that at least 18 wounded remain in critical condition.
The event took place around Friday afternoon, when the Boeing 737NG of the low-cost company Air India Express, a subsidiary of state-owned Air India, left the runway at Kozhikode airport.
190 people were traveling on the plane, including 174 adult passengers and 10 minors.
The plane, which tried to land unsuccessfully on two occasions, passed the runway in heavy rain and crashed into a slope before breaking into two pieces.
The flight was part of Vande Bharat’s repatriation program, with the task of facilitating the return to India of its citizens stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The last major plane crash in India occurred in 2010, when a Boeing 737 also from Air India Express crashed at Mangalore airport (southwest India), killing 158 people out of 166 passengers on board.

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