Nine years on, air crash memories still afresh

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By Aaron D’mello
Bellevision Media Network

Mangaluru, 22 May: It’s 9 years since the terrible plane crash occurred at Bajpe located in the southern region of India. An Air India Express 812 flight which arrived at Bajpe airport on that fateful day lost control while landing overshot the runway, ended up in a ball of flames at Kenjar at 6:20am and claimed the lives of 158 passengers. The pilot and co-pilot, along with the crew were chared to death. However, 8 persons aboard the doomed flight escaped miraculously from the jaws of death.


Most of the corpses ended up charred and beyond recognition. In the dawn, the ill-fated flight landed following an Instrument landing system (ILS) approach, but failed to come to a halt along the runway, ploughed through the sand arrestor bed, its starboard wing collided with the concrete socket of the ILS localiser antenna, plunged down the steep hillside falling a depth of 200-300m and exploded into flames.


The investigation into the mishap revealed that the Serbian chief pilot’s neglect and failure to listen to the advice of the co-pilot led to the tragedy. The victims of the disaster included people from Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Uttara Kannada and Kerala. Most of the passengers were mothers and children returning back from Dubai after spending their holidays there. There were also others who had come on holiday or to attend a function at their hometowns.


The new runway at Bajpe airport was completed in 2006 and the flights were being operated from there. The inauguration of the new terminal was done a week before the incident.


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