Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has offered his condolences to the families of those affected after a special return flight for Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic skidded off a hilltop runway and cracked into two while landing in heavy rain in Kerala.
In a tweet on Saturday morning, President Solih said he was extremely saddened to hear of the plane crash.
“Extremely saddened to hear of the Air India Express plane crash in Kerala on Friday evening. I offer my condolences to the families of those affected by this tragedy, and prayers for the ongoing recovery effort,” he said.
There were 190 people onboard when the when the plane from Dubai to Kozhikode crashed; 174 adult passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and four cabin crew.
Indian authorities confirm that at least 18 people, including the pilots, were killed and 127 people were injured in the crash.
Kozhikode’s 2,850-meter runway is on a flat hilltop with deep gorges on either side ending in a 34-meter drop.
India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep S. Puri said in a statement that the flight “overshot the runway in rainy conditions and went down” the slope, breaking into two pieces upon impact.