Plane Crash In Kerala, Kozhikode; Captain Ranganathan Says It Is Murder
Air India plane crashed by skidding at table top airport of Kozhikode. Captain Ranganathan explained how special safety measures need to be taken for landing on a table top runway.
The Air India Express jet was coming from Dubai to land at Kerala's Kozhikode airport on Friday, 7th of August, when it skidded on the tabletop runway of the particular airport in Kozhikode. It is considered a grace that the flight did not catch fire due to the crash. The plane, Boeing 737 NG, skidded for nearly 1 Km before crashing badly. The two pilots and 16 others have been reported to have died from the crash.
The plane carried 184 people; rescuers said the casualties could have been much higher if the flight had caught fire, it was a boon. Tabletop runways, in case of Kozhikode airport, require special features of landing because they have very little space and require more safety features. Captain Mohan Ranganathan, an air safety expert, says, "There is no escape for an aircraft if it overruns," in a tabletop runway.
In a conversation with Hindustan Times, the Captain further said that if appropriate steps are not taken, accidents similar to the one at Kozhikode on Friday could happen at Patna, Jammu airports. In the interview Ranganathan, who is a member of a safety advisory committee constituted by the Civil Aviation Ministry, said that he had submitted a report around nine years ago with the warning that the Kozhikode (then Calicut) airport was not safe for landings.
Ranganathan said and we quote, "The warnings were ignored... in my opinion, it is not an accident but a murder. Their own audits have had flagged safety issues", adding to it that had the warnings being taken seriously, the crash might have been avoided on Friday.
Junior Foreign Minister V Muraleedharan said today morning to NDTV, "Yesterday itself the Civil Aviation Minister clarified that the earlier reports about the condition of the runway has nothing to do with yesterday's incident. We have a couple of tabletop airports in the country, but whether those airports are fit to continue is a larger question".
A tabletop runway is one which sits atop a plateau or hill with one or both ends adjacent to a steep elevation, which drops into a trough. Such airports present a real tough condition during landings.