An Air India Express flight from Trichy to Dubai with 136 passengers on board hit the Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower and the compound wall while it was taking off. The incident took place at 1:20 am on Friday. The flight was diverted to Mumbai and landed safely at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport. All the passengers are safe.
According to reports in news agency ANI, the aircraft suffered damages on its belly in the incident. However, after an inspection at the Mumbai airport, it was given it a go-ahead for operations. An internal inquiry has been set up to investigate the incident and the pilot and co-pilot have been suspended till the probe is completed.
Pictures taken at the site show that a part of the compound wall of the airport has been broken due to the impact. This indicates that the flight was just taking off when it grazed the compound wall of the ATC which led to it crumbling down due to the speed of the aircraft.
Speaking to media persons outside the damaged compound wall in Trichy airport, Tamil Nadu Tourism Minister Vellamandi Natarajan said that he would be looking into the matter.
“Officials at the airport are now investigating the matter. Since this is my Assembly constituency, I have come here directly to oversee the investigation and inform the officials of the next course of action,” the official said.
The major reason for the accident is suspected to be the lack of a sufficient runway length at the Trichy airport. The only airport to have the shortest runway of 8,136 feet is Tiruchirapalli International airport. Plans to expand the runway in the airport have been in the offing for a decade now, but cannot be completed due to want of more land.
"In a recent review on airline safety, I have ordered to put in place a third party professional organisation to look into various safety aspects at @airindiain. In order to have continuous attention towards air safety, I have also ordered concerned officials to put in place a regular "safety compliance report" of all airlines.Safety of the passengers is of paramount importance for us. We will take all that’s required to put safety on top of aviation agenda. Growth can’t be at the expense of safety," Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu Tweeted on Friday
Safety of the passengers is of paramount importance for us. We will take all that’s required to put safety on top of aviation agenda. Growth can’t be at the expense of safety.— Suresh Prabhu (@sureshpprabhu) October 12, 2018
The Civil Aviation Minister also said that he had spoken to other senior officials in the Ministry of Civil Aviation and that a high level enquiry into the incident will be conducted.