Friday, May 21, 2010

At least 160 dead in India plane crash

Reuters - 52 minutes ago

NEW DELHI - An Air India Express passenger plane from Dubai overshot a runway and crashed outside an airport in southern India on Saturday, killing at least 160 people in one of the worst air accidents in India in years.

The accident occurred near Mangalore airport in Karnataka state. There may have been five or six survivors, local media said.

Air India said the plane was a Boeing 737-800, with 166 people on board, including six crew members. Earlier estimates of the number of people on the plane had varied slightly.

Air India Express is a budget airline ran by state-run carrier

"At least 160 passengers have died in the crash," V.S. Acharya, home minister of the southern state of Karnataka, told reporters. "At least five to six people have been taken to hospital, their condition is not known."

Television channels said the plane crashed around 6.30 a.m. . TV images showed it struck a forested area. Flames were seen blazing from of some of the wreckage as rescue workers fought to bring the fire under control.

One television channel showed a fireman carrying in his arms what seemed to be the mangled remains of a child.

"The aircraft has broken up into pieces and fire has engulfed the aircraft. There is lot of smoke," said Gopal Hosur, a senior police officer in Mangalore.

"The plane apparently overshot the runway and has crashed. We have news that the plane caught fire after crashing," said Rohit Katiyar, a top airport security official.

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