AGENCYKozhikode: The crucial black box of the ill- fated Air India Express flight that could throw light on how it overshot the runway here and crashed has been recovered while the toll in the mishap rose to 18 on Saturday with a passenger succumbing to injuries, officials said.Investigations into the cause of the crash are underway with top officials of the airlines and aviation regulator DGCA rushing here while Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri also arrived in this city in north Kerala and took stock of the situation and implementation of the relief measures.The AIE flight from Dubai with 190 people on board overshot the tabletop runway at the international airport in Karipur, about 30 kms from here in neighbouring Mallapuram district, while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two portions on Friday night.The state government said the condition of 23 of the 149 injured undergoing treatment at various hospitals was critical while one person succumbed, taking the toll to 18.“Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of the ill-fated aircraft have been retrieved.AAIB (Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau) is conducting investigations,” Puri tweeted.The minister said he would hold consultations “with senior civil aviation officials & professionals”, adding reasons for the mishap, in which the two pilots were among those dead, were being investigated.Puri later announced Rs 10 lakh interim relief for each of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 50,000 for those who suffered minor injuries.He also said the Pilot in-command of the crashed Boeing 737 aircraft Deepak Vasant Sathe, a former Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force (IAF), was one of the most experienced commanders with more than 10,000 flying hours and had landed aircraft 27 times at the Karipur airport in the past.The state government said Rs 10 lakh each would be given as compensation to the families of the deceased. The medical expenses of those under treatment will be taken over by the government, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.While the toll was put at 17 on Friday, it rose to 18 with the death of one more person, Malappuram District Collector K Gopalakrishnan said.According to the official list released by him, four of the deceased were children — three girls and a one-year old boy — and seven were men and other women.Two girls were aged two and the other was five.“Currently, 149 people are in various hospitals of Malappuram and Kozhikode, out of which 23 are in critical condition. Earlier, 23 were discharged after being provided initial medical assistance,” Vijayan said.The chief minister along with state Governor Arif Mohammad Khan visited the injured at the Kozhikoide Medical College hospital.An official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said the DFDR and CVR, which jointly make up the “black box” in an aircraft, are with the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) and will be sent to Delhi for further investigation.The CVR keeps a recording of all the conversations taking place in a plane’s cockpit and along with DFDR that has record of flight data such as airspeed, altitude and fuel flow can help in finding out the cause of the crash, the official said.
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