One of the major mishaps that have happened with Air India Express is Mangalore air crash of flight 812. Flight 812 was having its journey from Dubai to Mangalore on 22nd May 2010. While landing in the early hours of 01:00, the aircraft went more than the runway length and toppled over a cliff at the end. There it caught fire and burst into flames causing wreckage. The accident caused a casualty of 152 passengers and 6crew members. Only 8 members survived the accident. The crash is the recorded third deadliest crash that has happened in the Indian aviation stream.
Mangalore airport is among the three table top runway airports in India, others being Calicut International Airport in Kerala and Lingpui Airport in Mizoram. The airport is labeled as a ‘critical airfield’ airport in India. Critical airfields have enforced rules that only the captain is allowed to pilot the vehicle at the time of take-off and also during landing. This is a second case of runway overrun in Mangalore Airport.
The Air India Express aircraft involved in the accident was Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft. Commanding officer was a British national named Captain ZlatkoGlušica and first officer was H. S. Ahluwalia, an Indian national. There were four other cabin attendants also in the flight. All of them died on spot. The flight had departed at its planned time of departure of 22:35 from Dubai International Airport in Dubai. The crash happened upon landing at Mangalore International Airport at 01:00 hours during which the aircraft, after touchdown, went over the runway and crashed through a sand arrestor bed finally to fall off the table top.
The initial investigations discovered that the landing of the flight was at a far off point than the usual touchdown point! Officials from Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Airport Authority of India had rushed to the site for immediate investigation, inspection and rescue efforts. An expert team was also send from Boeing for all technical assistance related to the incident. An inquiry ordered from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation was also instigated on the same day of the accident. The recovered cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder was of not much assistance due to heavy damage as per DGCA declarations.
Later on, a Court of Inquiry headed by Air Marshal Bhushan Nilkanth Gokhale, who was the Former Vice Chief of Air Staff, was also ordered. After an inquiry which lasted for 5 months with victims’ post-mortems and interviews with airline officials, a report was submitted by the Inquiry committee. Many protests and rallies were staged by various organizations for allocation of compensation for the family of the deceased.
A compensation of Rs.2 lakh was allocated by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and also by Karnataka Chief Minister Yediyurappa. Also, after much court hearings there was an order issued from the Kerala High Court to Air India to pay a compensation of Rs.10 Lakh to the victims’ families.
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