At least 18 people were killed and more than 120 injured when an Air India Express passenger plane overshot the runway and broke into two after landing in the southern city of Calicut in heavy rain on Friday, officials said.
The Boeing-737 flight from Dubai was flying home Indians stranded overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic. There were 190 passengers and crew on board, the civil aviation ministry said in a statement. Among them were 10 infants.
Television footage showed rescue workers moving around the wreckage in pouring rain. The aircraft lay split into at least two chunks after he plane's fuselage sheared apart as it fell into a valley 30 feet below, authorities said.
Media reports suggested that the plane skidded off a runway, crashing nose-first into the ground.
Among the injured on Friday night, at least 15 were in critical condition, said Abdul Karim, a senior police officer in southern Kerala state.
The dead included both pilots of the Air India Express flight, the airline said in a statement, adding that the four cabin crew were safe.
The civil aviation ministry said in a statement there was no fire on board, according to Reuters.
Local TV news channels showed passengers, some of them lying motionless on stretchers, brought into a hospital surrounded by health workers wearing masks because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Air India Express AXB1344, was a repatriation flight operated by the government to bring Indians home during international travel restrictions due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
"Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode" Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted referring to Calicut's new name. "My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest," he said.