Crash investigators hunt for India plane black box

By Anil D’Silva and Anirban Sen

MANGALORE, India (BestGrowthStock) – Investigators scoured the slopes of a ravine in southern India on Sunday looking for the black box of a Boeing 737-800 that crashed off a hilltop runway, killing 158 people.

Crash site experts sifted through the wreckage and collected some parts, but were still to find the flight data recorder which could provide clues about Saturday’s crash.

The Air India Express flight carrying 166 people, including the crew from Dubai crashed while negotiating a tricky landing at Mangalore city’s “table-top” airport overlooking a ravine.

Eight people survived, mostly by jumping out of the plane that broke into two after crashing.

“It is not possible to give any reason for the crash unless we find the black box,” Peter Abraham, Mangalore airport director, told Reuters.

About a dozen aviation experts were seen examining the jet’s mangled hull. At a distance, workers used bulldozers and metal-cutters to clear debris.

Though it was not clear what caused the crash, some Indian TV channels focused on the possibility of human error.

India’s Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said there were no indications of any trouble during the plane’s landing. The weather and visibility was good, he said.

“All other parameters like the aircraft functions and the runway looked to be very normal, so it should have been a normal landing,” he said. “But I do not want to speculate on the cause.”

India has seen a boom in private carriers due to growing demand from India’s middle class. It was the first big crash in more than a decade but a series of near misses at airports, including Delhi and Mumbai, have caused concern India’s creaking infrastructure was failing to keep pace with an economic boom.

Officials said all 158 bodies had been found.

All the passengers were Indian nationals, an Air India official said. Many were likely to be Indian migrant workers in Dubai, the rich Gulf emirate which employees thousands of men and women for poorer Asian countries, often to fill lowly jobs.

“I remembered when a plane crashes it bursts into flames, so tried to get as far away as possible,” Sabrina Haq, a 22-year-old medical intern told Reuters from a bed at Mangalore’s A.J. hospital.

“I don’t remember if someone picked me out or I fell out of the plane. I didn’t want to die.”

She suffered a broken leg and had bruises on her face.

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(Writing by Krittivas Mukherjee; Editing by Surojit Gupta)

Crash investigators hunt for India plane black box