Air India Express crash: India's repatriation mission will continue, says minister

Sahim Salim /Dubai
Filed on August 10, 2020 | Last updated on August 10, 2020 at 07.28 am
Air India Express crash, India, repatriation mission, minister


The minister said he was "deeply pained" at the loss of lives on the flight operating under Vande Bharat.

India's repatriation mission to bring back its citizens will continue with the "same undaunted spirit", the country's Minister of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Hardeep Singh Puri, has said. This came as Air India Express Flight IX-1344 from Dubai operating under the Vande Bharat Mission crash-landed in Kerala's Kozhikode on Friday, killing 18 and injuring several passengers.

"We will continue to bring back our stranded citizens from wherever in the world they are. I join the people of the state & every Indian in paying tribute to the 18 people who lost their lives in this air tragedy," Puri tweeted on Sunday.

The minister said he was "deeply pained" at the loss of lives on the flight operating under Vande Bharat - "a mission which has otherwise been incident-free and facilitated repatriation of more than 973K stranded citizens through various modes".

Salute to locals

Puri said he saluted the "spirit of solidarity and brotherhood" shown by the people of Kozhikode. "(They) ... took great personal risks in providing immediate relief and help to the victims. This has helped in averting a greater tragedy," he said.

He was referring to a rescue operation mounted by locals who defied Covid-19 lockdowns and adverse weather conditions to help rush the injured passengers to hospitals.

AI Express flights land in Kozhikode

The minister also referred to two Air India Express flights landing in Kozhikode on Saturday - a day after the tragedy.

"What also speaks volumes for the undaunted spirit of the aviation professionals & people of Kerala that despite this accident operations from the airport recommenced with 2 @FlyWithIX flights landing yesterday morning." 

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