Bengaluru (Karnataka), Aug 8 [India] (ANI): The front and last rows of the plane were badly damaged and metal cutters were used to evacuate the passengers from the Air India Express flight that crashed at Kozhikode airport on Friday night, said the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) Inspector General (IG) CV Anand on Saturday.
The IG said the rescue operations were started on time as two CISF assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs) present on duty immediately alerted the control room.
"Two of our assistant sub-inspectors (ASIs) who were on duty witnessed the accident and immediately alerted the control room and the CISF barracks that are a kilometre away. The rescue teams rushed to the site and witnessed that the first few and last few rows were badly damaged. Some people from the middle rows had gotten up and started moving by the time the rescue teams reached the site," Anand told reporters.
"Most of the people were rescued within 30 to 40 minutes, but some were stuck in mangled metal near the front and back of the plane. The fire department used their metal cutters used to get them out of the mangled metal," said Anand.
The IG said the pilots could not be saved because it took close to two hours to take them out of the mangled metal of the cockpit.
"On the other side, the cockpit crashed into the boundary wall. There was JCB outside that was brought in and with its help and of metal cutters the two pilots were removed from their seats. But they were critically injured by that time. The entire process took about two hours and by that time the NDRF had also joined. "
Anand said they were lucky that the plane did not catch fire.
"The number of casualties could have been higher if the plane caught fire. We were lucky that a fire accident was avoided even though it was raining and dark," he said.
Earlier on Saturday, the CISF ASI Ajeet Singh who was one of the eye-witnesses of the Air India Express flight crash at Kozhikode airport on Friday night said that he was talking to a colleague when he saw the plane falling towards the parameter road and informed the control room.
"I went to the field at around 7:30 pm for the third round and reached the gate number 2, which is an emergency fire gate, where ASI Mangal Singh was on duty. I sought the beat book from him to sign. Then I was talking to him when I saw the plane of the Air India Express falling towards the parameter road," Singh said on Saturday.
He said that he immediately informed the control room, officials concerned, and rescue teams.
"Line members and fire teams came for the rescue. We immediately opened gate number 8. Around 25-30 volunteers and a JCB entered the premises and started the rescue operation by removing the debris, under which passengers were stuck," Singh said.
"The CISF personnel entered the crashed plane and rescued the people from inside, took them to the ambulance, which came in from gate number 8 and transported them," he said. (ANI)