Several injured passengers of the ill-fated Air India Express flight from Dubai, which overshot the runway and crashed at the airport in Kozhikode, are yet to get over the horrific moments of their near-death experience.
It was a black Friday for all the 184 passengers who, after a long wait, managed to get tickets for the repatriation flight from Dubai as part of the Centre’s Vande Bharat Mission to
evacuate Indians stranded abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We did not realise what really happened other than the fact that the flight was shaking,” said Ramshad, who was injured when the aircraft dived into the valley and broke into two pieces on Friday night after landing amid heavy rains.
Though he was injured, Ramshad’s wife Sufaira and four-year old daughter Saidasherin escaped without any serious wounds.
Similar is the experience of Ashraf, a native of east Kozhikode, now under treatment at the Medical College Hospital.
“As soon the flight crashed, the emergency door was opened and people jumped out to safety,” another survivor said.
Ashik, undergoing treatment at a hospital in Kozhikode, said the firefighters reached the spot immediately and shifted the injured to hospitals.
Eighteen people, including pilot-in-command Captain Deepak Sathe and co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar were killed in the accident. Four members of the cabin crew are among the 172 people who escaped with injuries.
Locals too joined the police and firefighters in rushing to the rescue of the victims despite the incessant rains.
Dr Shimna Azeer, a doctor at a private hospital in Malappuram, who attended to a few of the injured brought there, said she was astonished at the manner in which the volunteers from the accident spot managed to bring the affected passengers quickly.
“In spite of the restrictions imposed due to containment and the heavy downpour that lashed since evening, the volunteers did a fantastic job, forgetting all protocols of social distancing or wearing masks which were fully wet during the course of rescue operations,” Azeer said.