Plane Crashed On Landing At Mangalore Airport
158 people are reported to have died and 8 injured when an Air India Express crashed on landing at Mangalore Airport on Saturday 22nd May.
The Boeing 737 plane overshot the hilltop runway and fell into a valley below. An Air India official has confirmed that all of the passengers were Indian nationals.
Crash investigators from Boeing and a team from the US National Transportation Safety Board are helping Indian officials to determine the cause of the crash.
The cockpit voice recorder has been found and it is reported that the pilot’s final exchanges with air traffic control show that he tried to abort the landing. The throttle was apparently also found to be in the forward position which also suggests he may have tried to abort the landing. The “black box” data recorder is still missing.
Indian aviation officials say that landing conditions were fair with good visibility and they have confirmed that there was no distress call from the plane.
Survivors of the crash reported hearing a thud when the plane touched down, as if a tyre had burst.
Analysts have described the runways at Mangalore airport as challenging for pilots. The airport stands on a hill top plateau and there is a steep drop into a valley at the end of the runways.
One of the runways is long enough for a Boeing 737 but has a short ‘spillover area’, meaning that a plane could fall into the valley if a pilot made an error in calculating the height and distance at which to land.
Air India Express is the low-cost wing of national airline Air India.
The flight was manned by a two-man crew, an Indian and a Serbian national who also had British citizenship.
Indian pilots have previously complained that checks on foreign pilots are not stringent enough, but Air India has defended the pilot’s record and pointed out that he had flown to Mangalore on at least 19 occasions.
The plane is the same model as an Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed just minutes after take off from Beirut in January, killing all 98 people on board. The same model of plane was also involved in a Kenya Airlines crash in Cameroon in 2007 in which 114 people died.
Clive Garner, an expert in aviation law at Irwin Mitchell said: “It is terrible to see yet another aviation tragedy with such a terrible loss of life. It is too soon to say what caused the Air India Express plane to crash although investigations are already underway to determine what went wrong.
“Our thoughts are with the survivors and relatives of the victims at what must be a terrible time for them.
“The families of those who lost their lives and those who survived will want to understand fully how this happened.
“Airlines must follow strict safety standards at all times and should not allow passenger safety to be compromised.
“We act for people who lost loved ones and are claiming compensation following the other Boeing 737 crashes in Beirut and Cameroon, and we will be investigating to determine if there are any factors in common between all three incidents.