Air India crash survivor cannot forget the horror

Two years after an Air India Express flight from Dubai crashed in Mangalore, the scars remain for one survivor who has never returned to the southern Indian airport.

Rescuers and onlookers at the site of the Air India plane crash in Mangalore.
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DUBAI // Two years after an Air India Express flight from Dubai crashed in Mangalore, the memories remain fresh for one of the eight survivors who has vowed never to return to the southern Indian airport.

Mayan Kutty was a passenger on flight 812 from Dubai when it overshot the Mangalore runway on May 22, 2010, killing 152 passengers and six crew members.

"I'll never fly to Mangalore, I can't even see that airport again," said Mr Kutty, an estate agent in Umm Al Quwain, who now flies at the neighbouring Calicut airport when he travels to India.

In a worrying coincidence, after a two-month holiday in the UAE, his wife and daughter returned to India on Monday night, the eve of the second anniversary of the crash.

"We were all tense about the flight and until they called me from India, I was very worried. I still see pictures in my mind about the crash, the smoke, the fire, the bodies burning. It will take time for all of us to forget."

A two-hour condolence meeting was held in Mangalore yesterday.

An association formed to demand compensation from the Indian government carrier discussed a continuing court case and new civil suits planned by families of the victims.

"We plan to demand a community hall to be built in Mangalore," said Mohammed Beary, the president of the Mangalore Air Crash Victims' Families Association.

The airline has paid 1.15billion rupees (Dh76.4million) in compensation claims and settled 159 of 160 claims, according to HD Nanavati, a partner at Mulla & Mulla, who is representing the airline and insurers.