An Air India Express plane with 190 passengers and six crew members on board skidded off the runway as it landed at Kerala’s Kozhikode on Friday evening. Television images showed the aircraft broken into two while fire fighting and rescue teams using water canons to prevent the badly damaged Boeing 737 aircraft from catching fire. While there has been no confirmation over casualties, several people have been reported injured in the horrific accident.

Flight IX 1344, which was carrying passengers as part of the Vande Bharat programme evacuating Indian nationals stuck due to coronavirus pandemic, was flying from Dubai to Kozhikode. Kerala has been receiving heavy rains since past few days with landslides being reported from several parts of the state.

The Kozhikode Airport has a tabletop runway which makes it challenging for pilots to land an aircraft at. A tabletop runway is a landing strip located on top of a hill or plateau with deep gorge on one or both the sides.

Friday’s accident comes over a decade after a similar incident at Mangalore airport. On 22 May 2010, a Boeing 737-800, flying from Dubai to Mangalore crashed while landing killing 158 people. Only eight on board the aicraft survived the crash.