At least 16 people have been reported dead after a plane carrying 190 passengers skidded off a runway at Calicut airport in India crashed, breaking into two pieces after landing.

The Boeing 737 which was coming from Dubai was reportedly repatriating Indians who were stranded in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) city following the outbreak of coronavirus.

According to reports by BBC News, at least 16 people were confirmed dead by aviation officials as of Friday, August 7, night, when the crash occurred.

Rescue operation and evacuation mission began in earnest and latest reports indicate the process was completed by midnight and survivors were taken to hospitals in Calicut and Malappuram in India.

Tens of passengers sustained injuries with aviation officials confirming 15 of them were in critical condition. Air India Express said the two pilots were among those who died.

plane breaks into two
The plane skidded off the runway and broke into two pieces. Photo: BBC. Source: UGC

The ill-fated aircraft crashed on its second attempt to land at the airport after the first attempt was aborted by the pilots due to heavy monsoon-season rainfall lashing Kerala.

“Deeply anguished & distressed at the air accident in Kozhikode. The @FlyWithIX flight number AXB-1344 on its way from Dubai to Kozhikode with 191 persons on board, overshot the runway in rainy conditions & went down 35 ft. into a slope before breaking up into two pieces,” India’s Civil Aviation Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted.

India’s President Narendra Modi said he was pained by the devastating news of the crash and condoled with the bereaved families.

President Modi also wished a speedy recovery to the injured.