The Air India Express Boeing 737-800 crash at Kozhikode airport may have caused due to poor weather conditions and a late touch down on the runway concluded the preliminary information conducted by investigators.
A senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official informed the media the plane landed beyond the 3,000-feet mark when it should have ideally done so no further than the 500-feet mark reported The Indian Express report.
The investigators are also examining whether poor visibility caused by incessant rainfall was one of the factors. Reportedly, the runway surface was wet, a factor that would have impacted the braking performance of the aircraft after it touched down.
An animated video on Flightradar24, a live flight-tracking app, showed that Air India Express had aborted its first landing attempt, made a loop around and then was making its final approach to land faster than the ideal speed.
''Flightradar 24 shows the aircraft at 176 knots or 325 kmph at an altitude of approximately 450 feet above the surface of the runway,'' NDTV quoted air safety expert Captain Amit Singh. ''This would not be an ideal ground speed when you are on short finals in these conditions,'' in other words, moments from touchdown.
Singh further said that the plane was flying at a ground speed of 149 knots (276 kmph) at an altitude of 2500 feet during first attempt, compared to that with the second approach, where they were approaching with a ground speed of 191 knots (354 kmph) at the same altitude.
The crash claimed 18 lives, including four children. Of the 109 passengers who boarded the plane, 22 are under critical condition. 23 people have been discharged after medical assurance.
The flight was part of the 'Vande Bharat' programme that has been tasked with bringing back Indians from abroad amid the COVID-19 pandemic.