Air India Express crash: All passengers were emergency travelers, says Indian CG in Dubai
'I am deeply saddened to say that we have lost pilot Captain Deepak Vasanth Sathe in the tragedy'
Following the tragic Air India Express flight crash in Kerala's Kozhikode on Friday, Consul General of India in Dubai Dr Aman Puri told Khaleej Times the flight was carrying 184 passengers including 128 males, 46 females and ten infants. He confirmed that the flight took off from Dubai International Airport at 1.45 pm UAE time.
"There were five crew members on-board as well. I am deeply saddened to say that we have lost pilot Captain Deepak Vasanth Sathe in the tragedy. We are hearing reports that the co-pilot on the flight has also died, however, we are still in the process of confirming these reports," said Dr Puri.
Also read: Helplines launched in UAE, India
Captain Sathe was an ex-Indian Air Force Wing commander, according to media reports.
Dr Puri added, "It is true that the death toll is rising, however, this can be because of the high number of passengers who were injured in the tragedy. I presume many passengers are succumbing to their injuries and that is why the numbers are increasing."
The Consul-General said all passengers on-board were emergency travel cases. "We had all kind of cases on-board. Some were visa cancellation and expiry cases, some were travelling to meet their family members, some were job loss cases, and some were travelling on medical emergencies," Dr Puri explained.
He also confirmed that the Ministry of External Affairs control room has been activated in New Delhi, and the Kerala Government and DGCA were on-the ground fully involved in rescue operations. The Consulate has launched four 24-hour helpline numbers - +971-565463903, +971-543090575, +971-543090571, +971-543090572 for passengers and families.
"We are currently taking an assessment of the on-ground situation and I can confirm that we are available to those in distress," he said, adding, "As soon as we get information about the passengers, we will be getting in touch with their families."
The Consul General said he has also learnt from his conversation from Dr Azad Moopen, Chairman or Aster DM Healthcare that MIMS Aster Hospital in Kozhikode has accepted 14 injured passengers and 16 more were on their way.
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