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Tyburn
05-22-2010, 10:47 PM
Survivors of an air crash that killed nearly 160 people in India have told how they jumped from the burning plane as it broke up and plunged into a valley.

Of the 166 passengers and crew on board the Air India flight to Mangalore, only eight survived as it overshot the "table-top" runway at Bajpe airport.

Emergency teams said that 146 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage as investigators began the task of identifying what caused the accident.

It is not believed any Britons were on board the plane. Initial reports suggested that the pilot, who was amongst the dead, was a British citizen of Serbian origin.

But the Foreign Office said it has had it confirmed from Air India that he was a Serbian national.

Foreign Secretary William Hague, who is in Afghanistan, led UK tributes to the crash victims. He said: "Our thoughts and condolences are with the victims, their families and all others affected by the tragic plane crash in Mangalore. We wish those who have been injured a full and quick recovery."

As rescue teams continued to recover bodies from the scene, a handful of passengers began to tell of their miraculous escape.

Pradeep G Kotian, 28, told the Press Association: "As soon as the plane touched the runway, it started vibrating and before we could realise what was happening, we heard a loud sound and the plane broke into two pieces. Then there was smoke and fire on the plane."

The crash followed heavy rains in recent days that hampered the rescue effort. It is believed cloudy conditions and reduced visibility may have contributed to the incident.

The airport is located on a plateau surrounded by hills, making it difficult for the firefighters to reach the scene.

J.B.
05-23-2010, 12:13 AM
That's horrible. Thoughts and prayers definitely go out to all those involved. :sad: