At least 18 dead in plane crash in southern India

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Survivors of the horrific Air India Express plane that skidded off the runway, crashing nose first into the ground and cracking in half, described a nightmarish escape from the doomed plane.Friday night’s crash left at least 18 dead.

Renjith Panangad, a plumber returning home after three years working in Dubai, said from his hospital bed that the plane was swaying and everything had turned dark before the crash.

He said he and other passengers crawled out of the fuselage through the emergency exit, The Times of India reported on Saturday.

“Many of the passengers were bleeding,” said Panangad, who escaped without serious injuries. “I still can’t figure out what happened. … My body is shaking.

The plane, which returned Indians stranded to Dubai due to the COVID-19 pandemic, overtook the runway at Calicut International Airport in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday.

The flight was carrying 190 passengers and crew.

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

The Boeing-737 aircraft slipped off the Calicut tabletop runway and crashed nose first. These trails are located at an altitude with steep drops at one or both ends.

Most of the passengers survived because the plane did not catch fire when it skidded off the runway, an aviation official said.

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