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Saturday, May 22, 2010

India plane 'crashes on landing'

A plane has crashed on landing in the southern Indian city of Mangalore, with dozens feared dead, reports say.

More than 160 people were said to be on board and officials are quoted as saying they believe there are no survivors.

Local TV has shown footage of the plane lying on its belly, with smoke billowing from the fuselage.
Firefighters were dousing the plane with foam in an attempt to put out the fire.

The Air India Express plane, believed to be a Boeing 737, was arriving from Dubai.

"There were 163 passengers and six crew members and we fear all of them have been killed," airport security official Rohit Katiyar was quoted as saying by Reuters.

There is uncertainty over how many people were on board the plane - and local TV reported that there might have been some survivors.

Difficult access

It is unclear whether the plane crashed before landing or after steering off the runaway.

TV pictures have shown rescue workers taking away what looks like the body of a child from the crash site, our correspondent adds.

Subramaneshwar Rao, superintendent of police, Mangalore, added: "Chances [of finding many survivors ] are very bleak as most of the plane has been burnt out."

Another Mangalore police official told the BBC that smoke from the crash site was making it difficult for rescue workers to gain access to the plane.

Mangalore airport is located at the top of a hill and analysts say it can be a difficult airport to land in.

The BBC's Soutik Biswas in Delhi says India's air safety record has been good in the past decade, despite an explosion of private airlines and air travel in the country.

The last major crash happened in the city of Patna in July 2000, killing at least 50 people, our correspondent adds.



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