India crash survivors' stories

  • Published

Survivors of a plane crash in Mangalore, India, have described how they escaped from the burning wreckage of the flight moments after it crashed on landing.

The Air India Express flight from Dubai overshot the runway and plunged into a wooded valley before it broke up and burst into flames.

Seven out of 166 passengers and crew either made their way out of the wreckage or were rescued by firemen and local villagers who came to help.

No warning

Some of the survivors said they heard a sound like a tyre bursting just before the crash.

"At the time of landing, as it touched down, there was a tyre burst and the flight went out of control," a man identified as Pradeep told reporters at a Mangalore hospital.

Image caption,
The few survivors spoke from hospital of their harrowing experience

"Within five seconds of the blast there was fire and smoke all over; I could not even breathe. At that time, I saw a broken window, through which I jumped - to save myself. I hurt my legs and hands."

Another man, KP Manikutty, said the landing had at first appeared to be smooth and then the plane crashed with no warning.

"Immediately on touching the ground, the aircraft jerked and in a few moments hit something," he said.

"Then it split in the middle and caught fire. I just jumped from the gap," he added.

'Total chaos'

A man identified as Krishna also said he also escaped through a gap in the wreckage.

"While landing at the airport, the plane deviated and hit something," he said.

"It caught fire and we fell out. We looked up and saw some opening and came out through that route.

"We came out of the jungle and reached near a railway track. From there some people brought us to the hospital. There were five of us."

Stalin Mayakutti seems to have been one of the group that escaped with Krishna.

"While landing at the runway, the plane fell down," he told reporters at a Mangalore hospital.

"It shook... the pilot applied sudden brakes, it hit some building and immediately the plane caught fire and burst into pieces... I fell out when the sudden brakes were applied. Along with me another four or five people also fell down."

Passenger Umar Farooq also said he heard a tyre bursting when the plane landed.

"The tyre burst as soon as the plane landed and the plane went toward the forest," Umar Farooq told Indian TV from his hospital bed.

"Within [a] few seconds there was a blast and plane was filled with smoke and there was total chaos. A part of the plane broke off and I could see trees through the smoke, I jumped out from there.

"There was another passenger before me who was trying to jump, so I pushed him out. He got entangled in a cable. In the process of helping him out I got burnt on my face and hands."

Mr Farooq was being treated for burns to his arms, legs, and face.

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