Twenty-two officials who responded to the plane crash in Kerala last week have tested positive for coronavirus, the Malappuram medical officer has said. The Air India Express plane came with 184 passengers from Dubai under the centre’s Vande Bharat Mission that expatriates Indians stranded abroad amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“They were quarantined after the rescue operations at the plane crash site ended. Most of them were on location,” the district medical officer said.
The district medical officer’s team is undertaking risk assessment and more details are awaited.
All on board the crashed aircraft were evacuated after a nearly three-hour operation. Eighteen people including both the pilots died in the crash and more than 150 were injured. All survivors were admitted to various hospitals and were also tested for COVID-19.
Though it was India’s worst passenger aircraft accident since 2010, the number of casualties was significantly lower than the one in Mangaluru when another Air India Express flight from Dubai overshot the table-top runway and slid down a hill, killing 158 people. A tabletop runway sits on top of a plateau or hill with one or both ends adjacent to a steep elevation, which drops into a gorge. Such an airport presents a challenging condition for landing.