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Plane crashes after mid-air collision in Canada

Police say it is not yet known how many people were aboard each plane or whether any injuries have been reported.

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Ottawa, Nov 4 (IANS) Two aircrafts collided mid-air over Ottawa‘s west end on Sunday, which led to one of them crashing in a nearby field, the police said.

Police said one of the aircraft crashed into a field near McGee Side Road just east of the 417 in Carp in rural west Ottawa. The other aircraft was redirected to Ottawa International Airport and safely landed there, sustaining only minor damage, Canada’s CBC news reported.

Paramedics are on the scene and the Transportation Safety Board of Canada is investigating.

Police say it is not yet known how many people were aboard each plane or whether any injuries have been reported.

It’s not clear what type of aircraft were involved and how the collision occurred.

The crash is the second in the Carp area in less than a month.

In mid-October, an ultra-light plane crashed on a road, narrowly missing a house and leaving the pilot seriously injured.

India

17 killed as Air India Express flight overshoots runway in heavy rains in Kozhikode in Kerala; both pilots among the dead

The mishap brought back memories of the crash of Air India Express flight IX 812 on May 22, 2010 at Mangaluru International Airport.

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Air India Express Flight IX-1344 Skid

Kozhikode, Aug 7 : Seventeen people were killed and scores injured when an Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 on board overshot the tabletop runway in Kozhikode airport in Kerala on Friday night while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two portions, officials said.

The pilot-in-command Captain Deepak Sathe and his co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar were among those who died, police and airline officials said. Sathe was a former Wing Commander of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and had served at the force”s flight testing establishment.

“Unfortunately the pilots have passed away and we are in touch with their families in grief,” said an Air India Express statement past midnight.

The Civil Aviation Ministry said the Boeing 737 aircraft on a flight from Dubai to Kozhikode overshot the runway at Kozhikode airport at 7.41 PM on Friday. “No fire was reported at the time of landing,” it said.

There were 184 passengers including 10 infants, 2 pilots and 4 cabin crew on board the aircraft, the ministry added.

It was a repatriation flight operated by the Centre under the ”Vande Bharat” mission to bring home Indian nationals hit by international travel restrictions due to the spread of COVID-19.

Malappuram District Collector K Gopalakrishan told reporters at the airport that 17 people on board the aircraft were killed in the accident. The identity of the victims was not immediately known.

He also said some of the injured were in a critical condition.

Riyas, one of the passengers, who was rescued, said the flight went around the airport twice before attempting to land.

“I was in the back seat. There was a big noise and I don”t know what happened after that,” he told a TV channel.

Fathima, another passenger, said the flight landed with heavy force and moved forward.

A statement by civil aviation regulator DGCA said the airplane after landing at Runway 10 continued moving to the end of the runway amid heavy rains and “fell down in the valley and broke into two pieces”.

The Air India Express is a wholly owned subsidiary of Air India and it has only B737 aircraft in its fleet.

TV footage from the accident site showed the aircraft split into two pieces and the debris lay scattered on the ground.

The mishap brought back memories of the crash of Air India Express flight IX 812 on May 22, 2010 at Mangaluru International Airport.

The flight from Dubai had overshot the runway and plunged down the cliff into a wooded valley, killing 158 people.

The probe into the 2010 crash had found that the Captain misjudged the height while landing, resulting in the flight overshooting the runway located on a plateau.

Help centres have being set up in Kozhikode, Sharjah and Dubai.

President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi were among several leaders who expressed shock at the accident.

Modi also spoke to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

“Pained by the plane accident in Kozhikode. My thoughts are with those who lost their loved ones. May the injured recover at the earliest,” the prime minister tweeted.

Authorities are at the spot providing all assistance to the affected, Modi said.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said he is deeply “anguished and distressed” at the accident and that relief teams from Air India and Airports Authority of India (AAI) are being immediately dispatched from Delhi and Mumbai.

“All efforts are being made to help passengers. A formal enquiry will be conducted by AAIB (Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau),” the minister said on Twitter.

“The Air India Express flight number AXB-1344 on its way from Dubai to Kozhikode with 190 persons on board, overshot the runway in rainy conditions & went down 35 ft. into a slope before breaking up into two pieces,” he tweeted.

In another tweet at 12.01 am, he said the rescue operations have been completed.

“Two investigation teams of professionals from @airindiain @AAI_Official & AAIB will leave for Kozhikode at 02.00 hrs & 05.00 hrs. Everyone has now been rescued from the aircraft. Rescue operations are now complete. Injured being treated at various city hospitals,” he said.

Screams of pain, blood soaked clothes, terrified children and the blare of ambulance sirens captured the distressing scene that unfolded after the ill fated plane fell into the valley with a deafening sound.

Amid heavy rain, rescue personnel, including the local civil police, rushed to pull out the injured people from the aircraft while the passengers were stunned to even comprehend what had happened in a matter of moments that led to chaotic moments.

Children, some as young as four or five years clung on to the rescue personnel while things strewn around, from shoes to baggage, bore tell tale signs of the agonising moments endured by passengers.

The scene was similar in hospitals where the injured were rushed as screams rent the air with health workers trying to provide succor.

People living nearby pitched in on time to lend a helping hand to the shocked passengers.

A local man said he rushed to the airport after hearing a “terrible thud” when the airplane fell.

“Small kids were trapped under the seats and it was such a distressing sight,” he said.

“When we reached there some were deplaned.

“Many of them were seriously injured.

“Legs were broken….My hands and shirt were soaked in the blood of the injured persons”, he said.

Another man in the rescue operations, who could not be immediately identified, told a TV channel that the “injured pilot of the aircraft was taken out from the cockpit after breaking it.”

By the time ambulances started reaching the spot, the locals had already started shifting injured passengers in cars to various hospitals in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts, he said.

Collector Gopalakrishnan said 110 people were admitted to seven hospitals in Kozhikode and 11 among them are dead.

“Remaining are under treatment and their condition are at different stages. Among the 80 people admitted in Malappuram hospitals we have received information of six deaths there.

“Some of the patients are critical,” he said.

The official also said two passengers, who got trapped at the tail portion of the aircraft, were rescued with great difficulty.

Chief Minister Vijayan asked all government agencies to engage in rescue operations using all government facilities.

He has deputed state minister A C Moideen to coordinate the rescue operations.

An Inspector General-rank officer was also deputed to oversee the operations.

Fire and Rescue teams of two districts– Kozhikode and Malappuram– were also pressed into service.

The condition of a mother and child injured in the accident was very serious, Health minister K K Shailaja said.

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India

Air India Express announces pay cuts for employees after 88% drop in revenues

The monthly stipend of trainee co-pilots will be reduced by 10 per cent. For cabin crew, the domestic layover allowance will stand reduced by 10 per cent.

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New Delhi, Aug 6 : Following a massive decline in revenues of 88 per cent up to July because of the Covid impact, Air India Express has announced a rationalisation scheme for pay cuts for employees, with pilot allowances reduced by 40 per cent.

The scheme is similar to what has been implemented by its parent company, Air India.

In a office circular dated August 5, T. Vijayakrishnan, Chief of HR, said that the company, along with other aviation companies, has been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Consequently, the airline’s revenues up to the month of July have declined as much as 88 per cent,” the circular said.

In order to meet the payment commitments to banks, aircraft lessors and other key vendors, the airline has been forced to increase its working capital borrowings. It has been taking measures to cut costs and fixed charges on the meagre earnings through renegotiation of contracts with all key vendors.

“As you all may be aware, Air India, our parent company, has also implemented a rationalisation scheme to reduce the funds outflow in terms of compensation to employees,” the circular said.

It has received directions from the Civil Aviation Ministry and parent company to implement a similar rationalisation exercise in Air India Express as its situation is no different at this point of time.

“It is therefore necessary for all of us in Air India Express to accept commensurate sacrifice in our monthly remunerations, until the adverse effect of Covid pandemic on our operations/revenues substantially wears off,” Vijayakrishnan said.

The allowances of pilots has been reduced by 40 per cent. These include flying allowances, special pay and layover allowances.

For ground employees, there will be no reduction for emoluments up to Rs 25,000, 5 per cent reduction up to the grade of Senior Officers and reduction of 7.5 per cent of gross emoluments for employees above this level, going up to CEO.

The rationalisation scheme will be effective from April 1 and will continue till further review by the board of directors.

For Commanders who fall in special contracts of 15 days on and 15 days off, their gross remuneration will be reduced by 50 per cent.

For trainee captains, the remuneration will be reduced by 40 per cent. For first officers, co-pilots, trainee co-pilots, the flying allowance will be reduced by 40 per cent.

The monthly stipend of trainee co-pilots will be reduced by 10 per cent. For cabin crew, the domestic layover allowance will stand reduced by 10 per cent.

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India

Whistle-blower Air India staffer suspended for speaking to media

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Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 6 : The travails of an Air India whistleblower official continue as he has now been suspended from service on the charge that he spoke to the media, said his counsel.

Speaking to IANS, M.R. Abhilash, counsel for the whistleblower, said that the suspension order has been served to his client by Air India.

“The charge is that he addressed the media on company matters, which is not right,” said Abhilash.

The unexpected suspension comes at a time when the ongoing probe by the Kerala Police’s Crime Branch into a fabricated sexual harassment case against the Air India official masterminded by the prime accused in the gold smuggling case involving Swapna Suresh has reached a crucial stage.

A few Air India officials have already been quizzed in connection with the case while a few others are expected to be called shortly.

It all started for L.S. Sibu, who was a union leader in Air India and was working as an officer-apron in the Ground Services Department, Trivandrum, in 2014 when he brought to the attention of the CBI, the Central Vigilance Commission and the Prime Minister’s Office the financial shenanigans at Trivandrum Airport.

Starting then, Sibu’s life took a turn for the worse, as he was transferred to Hyderabad effective April 2015. He had to wait till June 2015 to know the reason why he was transferred and was shocked to learn that 17 female employees had in a letter levelled complaints of sexual harassment against him.

Presently on leave, Sibu who is in his hometown here, got a mail from Air India that he has been suspended from service for addressing the media on company matters.

It was after a few years of a legal battle that the Kerala High Court directed Air India to reinstate him in July 2018, after which he was posted to Hyderabad.

In another order, the court had then directed the Crime Branch to conduct a detailed probe into the sexual harassment case against Sibu.

Incidentally, it was only after the gold smuggling case involving Swapna Suresh came to light that Sibu got some relief.

The Crime Branch investigation unearthed evidence against Swapna Suresh of being the mastermind behind the sexual harassment case and the agency is expected to file a chargesheet shortly as directed by the court.

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