india plane crash 311.
(photo credit: AP)
NEW DELHI — An Air India Express plane trying to land in the rain at a
tricky hilltop airport in southern India overshot the runway, crashed and burst
into flames at dawn Saturday, killing 159 people, officials said. There were
Dense black smoke billowed from the Boeing 737-800 aircraft surrounded by
flames just outside Mangalore's Bajpe airport in a hilly area with thick grass
Rescue workers pulled out scores of burned bodies from the blackened tangle
of aircraft cables, twisted metal, charred trees and mud at the crash site.
Many of the dead were still strapped into their seats, their bodies burned
Relatives of the victims, who had come to the airport to meet them, were
seen weeping near the wreckage.
"The plane shook with vibrations and split into two," a survivor
named Pradeep told CNN-IBN television. He said the plane's initial touchdown
appeared smooth at first, but trouble started about 15 seconds later.
Pradeep, who uses only one name, jumped out of the aircraft with four others
into a pit, he said.
The plane had a small fire at first, but then a large explosion set off a
bigger blaze, said Pradeep, who injured his hand and suffered burns to his
The plane was carrying 160 passengers — all Indian — and six crew members,
official Anup Srivastava said.
By Saturday afternoon, rescuers had pulled 116 bodies from the wreckage,
Srivastava said. Seven survivors had been rescued and were being treated in
local hospitals, the airline said.
The crash was the deadliest in
since the November 1996 midair collision between a Saudi airliner and a Kazakh
cargo plane near
that killed 349 people.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed condolences and promised
compensation for the families of the victims. Boeing said in a statement it was
sending a team to provide technical aid to the government's crash
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