India: Outrage At Mangalore Plane Crash

Satellite view of the airport. Image by Twitpic user LarkRD

Satellite view of the Mangalore Bajpe airport. Image uploaded by Twitpic user LarkRD

An Air-India Express plane arriving from Dubai has crashed in Mangalore, south India, killing most of the people on board; the plane overshot the runway then burst into flames, and approximately 160 people are believed to have died. It is the first major crash in India for some years, but many bloggers and Twitter users are not surprised at the news.

Air-India Express, a subsidiary of Air India, is a low-cost airline which offers flights mainly to Gulf countries where millions of Indians work. All the passengers on this flight were Indian nationals, many coming back to India for family visits. Mangalore is a coastal city in the southern state of Karnataka; Mangalore International Airport is located on top of a hill, and its runway is known for being “tricky”.

Journalist Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) tweeted from the crash site:

Too many bystanders at crash site. Area too large to be cordoned off. Its forested so people simply walking in, debris trampled on

Cartoonist Satish Acharya (@satishacharya) was not surprised at the news:

Mangalore air-crash: Everyone saw the disaster coming, the runway is so dangerous!

Twitter user Venkat Ananth (@venkatananth) spoke to a pilot friend:

According to this friend of mine, the runway at Mangalore is an optical illusion. You must be able to land precisely. No margin of error.

Author Aravind Adiga (@aravindadiga), who grew up in Mangalore, tweeted:

When I was at St Aloysius school, Mangalore, we joked abt that airport. But we assumed the grown-ups who built it knew what they were doing.

In Mangalore, Larkins Dsouza (@LarkRD) wrote:

The #Mangalore #Airport is dangerous I have felt it. Blaming on pilot is baseless #mangalore #plane #crash #AirIndiaExpress

Some bloggers have been expressing their anger. At group blog Ultrabrown, Manish Vij says:

Who would’ve guessed that an airline famous for staging a mid-air fistfight, sleeping through a destination and forgetting to drop a heavy’s landing gear would plunge Flight 812 into a smoking grave? The best thing that could happen to Air India, a flag carrier treated as both sinecure and dumping ground by countless babus [corrupt bureaucrats], is to get blacklisted internationally as an unsafe carrier. Because being banned from leaving the country might be the kick in the ass they need.

Blogger Churumuri asks:

For a couple of days, the talking heads will froth at the mouth about safety standards, airport infrastructure, etc, before it is business as usual. Few will talk of the extraordinary role Praful Patel, the civil aviation minister, has played in singularly bringing Air India, Indian, and Indian Airlines to the ground, as the competition soars.

So, what do you think caused the Mangalore air crash that turned the dreams and hopes and prayers of 160-odd people and their families into a pile of ash in minutes? And will things ever change in India?

Twitter user Akhtar Hussain (@akhtar978) says:

don't know when we are going to look within ourselves for the fault. But unless we learn to do that we are not going to improve. #mangalore

Within hours of the crash a Facebook group called R.I.P. Victims of Air India Plane Crash at Mangalore India was started, where people are sharing information and expressing their condolences.

On the flight was a Dubai-based “tweep”, Harshini Poonja, who tweeted as @netizentwo. She was on her way to India to attend a family wedding, and her last tweet said:

Twitter users were sad to hear the news:

@mich1mich Gulf News staff member's daughter was a tweep @netizentwo. May She Rest in Peace.

@meetsamer Be at peace @netizentwo, may you always find the rain you were so looking forward to

@adilkohiar @netizentwo You are Blessed to be with HIM. Keep smiling from above!!

@jassim the last tweet from @netizentwo is touching and reminding us of the things that we are missing out in life #mangalorecrash


  • Arun Kumar

    While landing, the SUN was shining from opposite and runway was shining like mirror as at 6AM The Sun obstructed vision. Secondly runway is whitish without markings like old runway on other side. Please verify my reasoning and acknowledge.

  • M.V.Sankaran

    From the comments received on the airport’s location at Mangalore, apparently, a disaster was waiting to happen and it has happened with an experienced pilot on board.

  • alain

    first of all respect for the people who died and a deep thoug for their famillies, I’ve been in India several times, and it’ nt worst than in europe, also, i fly Air India ofently. It’s possible that the airport wasn’t at a right level… But our world civilisation: faster, cheaper.. and all this kind of stuf is guilty in this case.: The PROFIT! .Security is something expensive, it wiil cut the profit of the share hoders. Capitalism is guilty

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