This Day That Year: the Air India Express Flight 812 Disaster, 14 Years On
This Day That Year:  the Air India Express Flight 812 Disaster, 14 Years On

Reflecting on the Air India Express Flight 812 Crash: 14 Years Later - Tragedy Strikes on May 22, 2010: On May 22, 2010, Air India Express Flight 812, a Boeing 737-800, crashed while landing at Mangalore International Airport after a flight from Dubai. The disaster occurred when the captain continued an unstabilized approach despite three warnings from the First Officer to abort the landing and try again. As a result, the aircraft overshot the runway, tumbled down a hillside, and caught fire. This incident marked the first fatal crash for Air India Express.

The Crew Members
The flight was operated by Captain Zlatko Glušica and First Officer Harbinder Singh Ahluwalia, supported by four flight attendants. Captain Glušica, 55, a dual citizen of Britain and Serbia, had over 10,000 flying hours and more than 7,500 hours as a captain. First Officer Ahluwalia, 40, previously worked for Jet Airways before joining Air India Express in 2009, with 3,620 flight hours to his name.

Mangalore International Airport
Mangalore International Airport, where the crash occurred, is known for its challenging terrain, situated in a hilly area. It is one of seven Indian airports classified as a "critical airfield" by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). DGCA regulations require that only captains handle takeoffs and landings at these critical airfields. Captain Glušica had landed at Mangalore 16 times before, while First Officer Ahluwalia had 66 landings at the airport.

Details of the Crash
There were no distress signals from the crew to air traffic control before the crash. Shortly after the accident, television footage showed the aircraft engulfed in flames, lying on its belly with smoke billowing from the wreckage. Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel confirmed that weather conditions were calm and normal at the time, with no rain—rain began only after the crash. Out of the 166 people on board, 158 perished, including all six crew members and 152 passengers. Only eight passengers survived the disaster.

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