150 bodies recovered from Mangalore crash site

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Mangalore, May 22 (ANI): Rescue officials on Saturday said that they had recovered and retrieved 150 of the 158 bodies from the Air India Express air crash site, and added that efforts were on to fin the remaining eight.

It maybe recalled that the airliner, which was coming in from Dubai, crashed near Mangalore Airport at around 6.30 a.m. this morning, killing 158 people.

The plane burst into flames after overshooting a tabletop runway and plunged into the forest below.

There were eight survivors after the Boeing 737-800, which had come with 166 people on board, including six crew, appeared to skid off the runway in rain at Mangalore airport.

The recovered bodies, many of them draped in white sheets, were charred beyond recognition as health workers moved them from ambulances onto stretchers and into the hospital mortuary.

Medical staff was putting number cards on the bodies as they braced for a crush of relatives to arrive to claim their loved ones.

All the passengers were Indian nationals, an Air India official in Dubai said. Many were likely Indian migrant workers in Dubai. The pilot was Serbian and said to be very experienced.

Air India Express is the budget arm of the loss-ridden state-run carrier Air India, which has been fending off growing competition from private airlines.

The flight's black box has been recovered, the United Arab Emirates state news agency WAM said. But Air India official Nambiar said the search for the flight data recorder was still going on.

It was India's first major crash in a decade, which has seen a boom in private carriers amid growing demand from India's middle class.

A series of near misses at major airports, including Delhi and Mumbai, have sparked debate about how India's creaking infrastructure was failing to keep pace with an economic boom. (ANI)

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