An Air India Express plane with 191 passengers and crew on board crashed at Kozhikode international airport in Kerala, the southern state of India, killing 18 people.

The Boeing 737 plane, which is part of the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indian nationals stranded overseas due to the coronavirus crisis, skidded off the tabletop runway in rain and fell into 35-feet valley and broke into two portions.

The plane was en route from Dubai.

Relief teams from Air India and Airports Authority of India (AAI) were dispatched from Delhi and Mumbai.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said: “All efforts are being made to help passengers. A formal enquiry will be conducted by Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau.”

“Because of the weather conditions, he [the pilot] could not land the first time, so he did a turnaround and tried to approach it from a different direction,” Puri added.

The crash seems to have occurred due to a slippery runway because of the heavy rains.

There were 174 adult passengers, 10 infants, two pilots and five cabin crew on board the plane.