The local residents at Karipur and Kondotty in Malappuram district came running to the airport crash site within minutes after the accident and began carrying the injured passengers in whatever vehicles they got to hospitals in heavy rains.
At least 20 persons, including the pilot and co-pilot were killed when a Dubai-Calicut Air India Express aircraft carrying 190 passengers and crew skidded off the runway at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport and fell into a 35-feet valley before splitting into two pieces late Friday evening.
Afsal who runs a mobile shop in Kondotty said he and his friends rushed to the airport hearing the crash. Initially they were not allowed inside by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel.
“There was just one fire services vehicle for rescue. When the airport security realized there were not enough personnel to rescue the injured passengers and crew, they allowed us to assist with the rescue and shift the injured on our vehicles before the ambulances began arriving,” Afsal told Maktoob.
Afsal was among the dozens of local people engaged in helping the injured before the police and Fire and Rescue personnel swung into action.
The locals in Karipur and Kondotty along with police, rescued almost everyone from the crash site, Malappuram Collector K Gopalakrishnan said
Health personnel and the people of Karipur have moved a majority of those involved in the accident to various hospitals within two hours of the incident, Collector added.
“By the time I reached the airport, the flight was split into two pieces right at the center,” Anas, an auto-rickshaw driver said to Maktoob.
“It was the first time that we saw such a horrible incident. But the shock never delayed us in helping them. The women and children we pulled out were bleeding,” he said.
Soon after the accident, many WhatsApp groups were flooded with SoS messages, requesting to identify children who were separated from their parents during the accident.
“Many of them were soon identified and claimed by their parents and relatives,” Jithesh, a student at Farook College, Kozhikode said.
Jithesh was among the youngsters of Kondotty who took care of the children and sent messages in WhatsApp groups so as to identify the children.
Hours after the incident, several people queued up outside a blood bank in Kozhikode Medical College at midnight to donate blood for those injured.