Rescue operations in Mangalore crash stopped: DGCA

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Mangalore /New Delhi, May 22 (ANI): The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Saturday evening said rescue operations have been halted and the bodies of all the 158 people killed the Air India Express Flight crash have been recovered.

"Focus is now on locating the Black Box from the crash site," said DGCA sources.

The Black Box records the conversation between ATS and pilots, which is crucial to study the blast.

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.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel tendered his resignation to the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, at his residence taking moral responsibility for the Air India Express Flight crash.

Patel is reported to have offered a four-page detailed report of the crash to Dr Singh during a meeting with him at 7 Race Course Road.

Earlier, Patel had arrived in Mangalore to access the situation following the crash of the Air India Express Flight from Dubai to Mangalore, said the plane overshot the runway, and there was no defect in it.

"The two pilots had over 1,000 hours of flying experience. The pilots were experienced and familiar with the terrain," Patel told reporters.

"The runway visibility stood at six kilometers when the incident took place. The visibility was normal. The ATC signal was also clear," he added.

Patel further confirmed that 158 people had died in the crash and that there were eight survivors.

"There were 137 adults, 19 children, four infants and six crew members on board," Patel said.

"Only eight survived. Four passengers sustained minor injuries. Three are severely injured," he added.

The Civil Aviation Minister also announced a compensation of Rs 75 lakhs to the family of the dead.

Earlier this morning, Patel had briefed the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, about the rescue operations that were being carried out at the crash site.

Meanwhile, a probe team from Mumbai will arrive in Mangalore today to inspect the crash site and determine the cause of the mishap. (ANI)

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