An Indian Airlines Boeing 737 trying to land in thick fog crashed and exploded Wednesday, killing 130 people, officials said. Later, authorities said a plane leased from Indian Airlines slammed into a hill during heavy rain, and all 34 people aboard were feared dead.
Five survivors were pulled from the burning wreckage of the 737 after it hit a tree and a power line near Ahmadabad airport, 500 miles southwest of New Delhi. The twin-engine jet was carrying 129 passengers and a six-member crew from Bombay to Ahmadabad.The minister of civil aviation, Shiv Raj Patil, told reporters the pilot gave no indication of trouble. He said workers found the plane's flight recorder but had not analyzed it.
Five people were taken to hospitals, said airport police inspector G.K. Rawal. They included a 13-year-old boy who was returning with his family from Zambia. His parents and younger brother died.
Three survivors were in serious condition with second-degree burns, but all were expected to live, Rawal said. One survivor, Vinod Tripathy, said the plane exploded in the air and again after crashing. He said he was burned in the second blast.
"I can, even at the age of 57, run like a hare," Tripathy was quoted as telling the Press Trust of India news agency from his bed at Civil Hospital. "I continued to run, undeterred by the two blasts and later, after covering a reasonable distance, fell unconscious," he said.
Later, a Fokker Friendship propeller plane flying from Silchar to Guwahati in Assam state slammed into a 1,400-foot hill during torrential rains, a local official said. That crash occurred about 950 miles east of New Delhi and five miles from the airport.
C. Das, deputy commissioner of Guwahati district, said 31 passengers and three crew members were aboard the Fokker and all were feared dead. Rescuers were unable to reach the site because of dense forests and heavy rain, he said.
Wednesday's crashes were the second and third major accidents this week. On Monday, a Uganda Airlines Boeing 707 crashed in Rome, killing 32.