Minister feels "morally responsible" for crash

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Minister feels "morally responsible" for crash

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A four-year-old girl pulled alive from the wreckage of a passenger jet that crashed in southern India is reported to have died in hospital. It brings the total number killed to 159.

The Air India Express Boeing 737 crashed on landing at Mangalore airport after a flight from Dubai. It burst into flames after overshooting the runway and plunging into a wooded valley.

Seven people survived, some of them badly burned. Up to twenty children are thought to have been on board.

All the passengers were Indian nationals, many thought to be migrant workers in Dubai, the rich Gulf emirate which employs many people from poorer Asian countries.

As the investigation into the cause of the crash gets underway, India’s Aviation Minister has said he feels “morally responsible”. The flight’s black box has reportedly been recovered.

There was no distress call; the pilot, a Briton of Serbian origin, has been described as very experienced.

Mangalore airport lies on top of a hill with steep drops at either end. Landing is said to be a challenge for pilots, but this is the first accident.

While India mourns the victims, questions are being asked over safety. This was the first crash in over a decade, but a series of near misses at airports have caused concern that infrastructure was failing to keep up with a boom in air travel.

Air India Express is the low-cost arm of the state carrier Air India, which has been fending off growing competition from private airlines.