18 persons, including the pilot and the co-pilot, were killed after an Air India Express flight overshot the tabletop runway in Kozhikode airport on Friday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in a statement, ANI reported. 127 people are at hospitals, while others have been released, he said. 

The minister said that their “task would have been much more difficult if the plane had caught fire.” He’ll visit the site at the Kozhikode airport.

Meanwhile, the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) has been recovered from the aircraft, ANI reported quoting DGCA.

Kerala’s Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Governor Arif Mohammad Khan will also visit the site, ANI reported.

The plane was coming in from Dubai on Friday with 190 people on board when it skidded off the runway while trying to land amid heavy rains. It fell below 35 feet into a valley and broke into two pieces, the DGCA said in a statement

The pilot-in-command Captain Deepak Sathe and co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar died in the crash, said the police. The identity of the other victims were immediately not known, Malappuram District Collector K Gopalakrishan told news agency PTI.

“We would like to inform that as of now there are 17 confirmed deceased including two pilots. The four cabin crew members are confirmed safe,” reads the Air India Express statement.

Two special relief flights have been arranged from Delhi and one from Mumbai for rendering humanitarian assistance to all the passengers and the family members. The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Flight Safety departments have reached to investigate the incident, reported news agency ANI quoting Air India Express.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said that he had spoken to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan regarding the incident.

“Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest. Spoke to Kerala CM @vijayanpinarayi Ji regarding the situation. Authorities are at the spot, providing all assistance to the affected,” he wrote.

Home Minister Amit Shah said that he was ‘distressed’ to learn about the incident. In a tweet, he wrote, “Have instructed NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) to reach the site at the earliest and assist with the rescue operations.”

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan has reached the Kozhikode airport where the Air India Express aircraft Boeing 737 crashed, reported news agency ANI.