Mangalore plane crash survivor relives harrowing experience

      A survivor of the Air India Express passenger flight that crashed in Mangalore on Saturday recalled the horror of the moment when the plane overshot the runway and broke into pieces. Pradeep, a technician working in Dubai, said he couldn't believe that he was still alive. "At the time of landing, as it touched down, there was a tyre burst and the flight went out of control. Within five seconds of the blast there was fire and smoke all over; I could not even breathe. At that time, I saw a broken window through which I jumped to save myself, hurting my legs and hands," Pradeep said while recounting his narrow and harrowing escape. All the passengers were Indian nationals, an Air India official in Dubai said. Many were likely Indian migrant workers in Dubai. The pilot was Serbian and said to be very experienced. Air India Express is the budget arm of the loss making state-run carrier Air India, which has been fending off growing competition from private airlines. The survivors were being treated in a local hospital for various degrees of burns and injuries. It was India's first major crash in more than a decade, which has seen a boom in private carriers amid growing demand from India's middle class. A series of near misses at major airports, including Delhi and Mumbai, have sparked debate about how India's creaking infrastructure was failing to keep pace with an economic boom. The last major crash in India was in July 2000, when an Alliance Air Boeing 737-200 crashed into a residential area during a second landing attempt in Patna, killing at least 50 people.

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