Death toll from Indian passenger aircraft accident rises to 18

The death toll from an Indian passenger aircraft accident has risen to 18, while 16 people have been seriously injured, a senior government official said on Saturday.

The Air India Express plane, which was repatriating Indians stranded in Dubai due to the coronavirus pandemic, overshot the runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday. It was India’s worst passenger aircraft accident since 2010.

The flight was carrying 190 passengers and crew.

The plane’s pilot and the co-pilot were killed in the accident, K Gopalakrishnan, chief of the Malappuram district in the southern state of Kerala, told Reuters.

All survivors were admitted to various hospitals and were also tested for COVID-19, Gopalakrishnan said, adding that autopsies of the dead would also be carried out according to the COVID-19 protocol.

Some 149 patients remain in hospital after some were discharged on Saturday, Gopalakrishnan said.

Authorities have also asked local people who rushed out to help the passengers trapped in the plane to go into quarantine.

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