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Air India Express crash: Survivors still coming to terms with tragedy

Anu Cinubal and Saman Haziq
Filed on August 8, 2020 | Last updated on August 8, 2020 at 06.20 am
Air India Express crash, Survivors,  sinking in, what, happened

(Supplied photos)

Junaid, a 25-year-old resident of Elathur in Kozhikode, said there was huge sound before the accident.

Survivors of the Air India Express crash in Kozhikode on Friday still find it hard to believe they have escaped unhurt. Air India Express flight (IX1344) that departed from Dubai on Friday afternoon crash-landed at Kerala's Kozhikode airport leaving around 15 dead and several others injured.

Junaid, a 25-year-old resident of Elathur in Kozhikode, said there was huge sound before the accident. "We were about to land normally. First, the flight tried to land and then took off again. The accident happened during the second attempt to land. The flight was speeding and before we realised what is happening, it skidded off the runway and broke into two. The front portion of the flight nose-dived into a slope and splint into two. there was another bent in the middle portion, but it didn't cut off from the rear portion entirely."

Junaid said he escaped without severe injuries as he was sitting in the back seat. "Those who were sitting in the front part of the flight had severe injuries. My head banged into something, but I escaped with no other injuries. There were children falling off their seats even on our side," he added.

An accountant in Dubai, Junaid was returning home as his company placed him on long leave after the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I tried hard not to move in the impact by holding on to my seat. There were loud screams and voices. I can't still believe that I'm out of it safely," Junaid, still under shock, told Khaleej Times over the phone while travelling to his home.

Another passenger, Jaya, also escaped with minor injuries as she was in the back seat. " We were landing when the flight skidded off the runway and by the time we realised it was an accident, everything was over. I was trapped in the seatbelt and couldn't move. Somebody helped me remove the belt and escape," she said, adding that it was mere luck that saved her.

Indian expat Shamsudheen TK could hardly believe that he had survived a plane crash. Speaking to Khaleej Times from a hospital near the Kozhikode International Airport, he said: " It was a comfortable flight until we began to descend. I think it was our second attempt to land when I heard a loud thud and I could feel the aircraft moving at an uncontrollable speed when suddenly it skidded off the runway and fell into a ditch. Luckily I and my two friends were sitting in the middle section of the aircraft and we had our seatbelts on but as soon as we saw the plane split into two, we all managed to unbuckle ourselves and jumped out of the aircraft. We survived because the aircraft didn't catch fire, else we wouldn't have made it."

While Shamsudheen fractured his elbow, his other two friends also survived the crash with light to moderate injuries and were admitted in the same hospital- Relief hospital and Taruna centre in Kondotti, Malappuram.

Shamsudheen, who had been a Dubai resident for 15 years, had recently lost his job and was heading back home on the special Vande Bharat repatriation flight. His wife and four children are residing in Vazahakkad, Malappuram district.

reporters@khaleejtimes.com 


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