2020 has been an unexpected year (I don’t have to say). Each month of this new decade has been filled with heart-breaking events. Starting from the coronavirus, we have come across events that has affected each and every one of us in some way.
Specifically in Kerala, India, we have seen a pregnant elephant killed in a horrid manner. In the same south India state, there has been another tragic event that I want to share with you all.
Read More to learn about a plane crash that occurred when a plane tried to land in the Calicut airport. I apologize beforehand for this post being too long 😬
An Air India Express plane flew from UAE to the Kozhikode International Airport around 7:40 pm last night. The pilots failed to land the plane on the 1st attempt as the runway was slippery due to heavy rainfall from the monsoon season.
When they tried to land the plane for the 2nd time, the pilot once again struggled to land the plane where the 2 pilots lost control. This led them to steer forward, knocking down the perimeter wall. Then, the plane fell into some kind of a 35-foot ditch where the nose of the plane fell in. This damaged the cockpit of the plane extensively which led the entire plane split into 2 separate pieces.
Just imagine…a huge Boeing 737 in 2 whole pieces!!!
This flight was part of Phase 4 of the Vande Bharat Mission. I spoke about the earlier stages of this mission in my blogs below. I hope you take a look at them—especially if you don’t know about Stage 1 and Stage 2.
The death count so far in this plane crash has reached a number of 20 people. Sadly, out of these 20 people, 2 of them were the pilots themselves. The rescue plane was carrying a total of 190 people with included 10 children, and 4 crew members.
What’s The Good News?
Good News…the plane didn’t catch on FIRE.
Since there was no fire, a huge accident was avoided in the airport. There are reports of about 156 injured passengers screaming where the rescue workers admitted them in a nearby hospital as soon as possible.
“No fire reported at the time of landing.” – Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh PuriStated On CNN
After the incident, it’s confirmed that the heavy rain was the cause of the accident. Firefighters and the local police are still involved in the rescue effort of these passengers.
The airport is located on top of a cliff where it’s said that the pilot must have been trying to fly to the end of the runway. Due to the slippage caused by the monsoon rains, the aircraft deviated from the runway which led to this incident.
What’s A Table-Top Runway?
As I stated in the previous paragraph, the Kozhikode International Airport is located on top of a cliff. The runway is built in such a way where a flat surface is created on top of an elevated space. This type of an airport runway is called a “table-top runway.”
The thing about this runway is that it creates a sort of an optical illusion when the pilot tries to land the plane. In order to avoid any landing failures, there needs to be 250 meters of runway in order for the plane to have enough time and track to hold their brakes successfully.
“The down slope at the end of the runway 10, on which the accident took place, has a very steep down slope. There is only a 90 metre safety area at the end of the runway, which should be at least 200 metres. Similarly, on both sides of the runway there is only 75 metre of safety area, when that should be at least 150 metres.” – Mohan RanganathanStated On Dainik Jagran
Unfortunately, in 2011, the Ministry of Civil Aviation reported unsafe landing conditions through an aviation safety report. The reason why this report came out unsafe was due to lack of track and slippery ends.
What’s The Sad News?
First of all, there isn’t enough track already compared to the necessary amount. Adding on, the pilot landed the plane way further into the runway (due to the illusion) where the plane hit the end of the track at a very fast pace. Since the end of the track was slippery as it was said in the report, the plane hit the wall at the end of the track which led to this incident.
Before I close the blog post, I also want to speak a little bit about the two pilots who lost their lives in this crash.
Pilot: Deepak Sathe
This pilot died at the age of 58 years where he is known for his experience in the aviation field. He used to be in the Air Force during his early days where he retired after his service. He once again come back to the field during the COVID-19 days for the Vande Bharat Mission.
Sadly, there is news that Deepak Sathe hasn’t seen his mother in the past few months. Since her birthday is on August 8th, he planned on surprising his mother for her birthday. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to do so as he wasn’t able to make it out of this incident.
Co-Pilot: Akhilesh Kumar
I seriously feel very heart-broken for this pilot and his family.
This co-pilot is currently in his early 30’s where his wife is currently pregnant. His wife is in the hospital at the moment where she doesn’t know about his death. Her family decided not to tell her for the moment since her family doesn’t want to add stress along with the pregnancy.
I’m very sorry to hear about the loss of both of the pilots and the loss of their families 😢
So…What’s My Point?
Many people began to rewind this accident with the plane crash in the Mangalore Airport that happened about 10 years ago. With the other crash, the casualties were far higher since that plane caught on fire.
Some people and reports began to compare these two accidents where they feel that these were caused by the pilots. However, after reading about the experience that these pilots hold in their hands, it doesn’t seem to be the case.
I personally feel that that there is just lack of focus on the safety part of the construction. Engineers should make sure that these airports follow aviation standards since millions of lives depend on those runways during every landing and departure.
What makes me more anxious is the fact that everyone ignored the 2011 safety report on this runway. The unsafe measures described in that report perfectly aligns with the reasons behind this 2020 Kerala crash. This tells me that not only are people careless during the construction period, but they also don’t show respect towards safety reports of the public.
Such concerns like these reports and EIA 2020 (coming up soon!!!) should be put out on the big screen where people and the government need to pay more attention to them with a little bit of care and respect.
Some Video Footage
Animated Footage of the Crash:
If you have any questions/thoughts about this plane crash or if you just had something to say, feel free to comment them down in the comment section below and I will get back to you ASAP.
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