NEW DELHI: At least two people died and more than 20 others were seriously injured Friday when an Indian passenger jet skidded off the runway in heavy rain, media reports and officials said.
Television pictures showed part of the fuselage of the Air India Express jet ripped apart, although there was no sign of any fire, at Kozhikode airport in the southern state of Kerala.
The airline said more than 190 passengers and crew were on board the plane, which left from Dubai.
One television channel reported there had been a problem with the jet´s landing gear.
“I am arranging hospitals for the injured passengers in the city and can confirm two deaths,” local police official Sujith Das told AFP.
“There are injuries too but we don’t yet have a number.”
A Kerala state deputy said the pilot had died in the crash, while reports said dozens of passengers were taken to hospital and that there were at least 20 critically injured.
Dozens of ambulances were being rushed to the scene, reports said.
Air India Express said in a statement that there was “no fire reported at the time of landing.”
It said there were 174 passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and five cabin crew on board the aircraft.
“As per the initial reports, rescue operations are on and passengers are being taken to hospital for medical care,” it said.
An emergency services official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP: “Rescue operations are on but the rains are making it difficult.”
Television pictures showed emergency services personnel working in the dark and spraying the wreckage with water.
Kerala has been battered by heavy rains in recent days.
News18 reported that there was a problem with the aircraft´s landing gear, citing unnamed sources.