KOZHIKODE: For the survivors of the Air India Express crash at the Kozhikode airport, being alive to tell the tale is a miracle. Ramshad was still in a state of shock as we spoke to him over the phone after getting caught in the mishap which has so far claimed 18 lives. The 28-year-old had a narrow escape along with his pregnant wife and four-year-old daughter.
"It was a rainy evening and nothing was visible outside the plane. The tragedy happened within a few seconds after touchdown. On impact, the plane was totally shaken and debris started falling on us. Within seconds, it broke up into two. The front portion was wrecked like a filament bulb. I and my family jumped on a wing through a window," said Ramshad who runs a mobile shop in Dubai.
They ran away from the area as fast as they could. "We felt the aircraft would explode. Fortunately, it didn’t and later we managed to get to the runway. It is a miracle that we escaped without major injuries. Debris fell on my daughter Shiza Irene and wife Sufaira who is six month pregnant," he said.
Ramshad recalled that while the plane was preparing to land, he felt something was amiss. "I heard a huge sound from the side of a wing just before the first attempt to land. And I had told my wife that there was something wrong with the tyres on the right side of the plane," he said.
Ranjith, another survivor, said he crashed into the tray table when the aircraft touched the ground. "It was all very fast. There was some announcement in the plane but I did not pay attention," he said.
After the aircraft broke into two, he too took the emergency exit and walked on the wing to get out. "The rescue squad reached in less than 10 minutes and then the residents," said Ranjit who worked as a plumber in Dubai.
In the melee, he lost his phone and passport. Meanwhile, his wife Thushara spent 30 anxious minutes in her house at Pathanamthitta. "Someone lent me their phone and I called to her," he said. Ramshad said they had received a landing message and passengers prepared for the same. "The pilot’s first attempt to land ended in failure. We didn’t feel anything wrong as it is quite normal during rainy days. After over 20 minutes, the captain took the second attempt," he said.
But he doesn’t agree with the claim that damage to landing gear led to the mishap. "If there was any such damage, passengers would have been given a warning message. But we didn’t get any emergency message from the crew," he said.