New Delhi: The country woke up Saturday morning to one of the deadliest air tragedies in Mangalore. Air India Express flight 812 from Dubai to Mangalore, carrying 166 passengers, got completely burnt, killing 158 people and eight miraculous survivors.
Timeline of the mishap
At 2am on the 22nd of May the ill-fated Air India Express flight 812 took off from Dubai International Airport. Captain Glusica, a Serbian expat, was in charge.
It's a four-and-a-half hour long flight to Mangalore. The flight was scheduled to touch down at about 6.30 in the morning.
There were 166 passengers on board -- 137 adults, 19 children, four infants and six crew members. Most of them were from Kerala, heading back from the Gulf, each with a date to keep with their loved ones.
As the narrow-bodied Boeing 737-800 approached the table-top runway at Mangalore, the winds were calm, it's a bit cloudy. But visibility was clear upto six kilometres.
Captain Glusica and his co-pilot Captain SS Ahluwalia were cleared by Mangalore airport to approach for landing. About 10 miles short of the runway, the plane switched over to the Instrument Landing System.
What happened next is a mystery at the moment. The aircraft hit the tarmac about 2000 feet beyond its touchdown point. That proved fatal for the aircraft as it simply did not have enough runway left to break its speed.
The plane hit a fence, broke through the airport boundary wall and fell into the gorge beyond, breaking into two and catching fire on impact.
Of the 166 people on board, 158 perished but there is a miraculous escape for eight passengers.
Reports suggest that the Air Traffic Control received no distress signal in the moments before landing. So the reason for one of the country's worst aviation disasters is still a mystery.