Expressing shock over the tragic airplane crash that claimed 158 lives in Mangalore, the State Government declared a day's mourning on Saturday. The State Government cancelled all official programmes scheduled on Saturday as a gesture of condolence to the victims. Even the State Cabinet meeting, which was scheduled on Saturday evening, was put off to Monday.

Senior IAS officer Yogendra Tripaty has been appointed as the nodal officer by the State Government to monitor the rescue and relief operations at the accident site.

Rush of VIPs

The Government announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh for the families of each victim from Karnataka. The medical expenses of all the survivors is being borne by the Government through the district administration.

A large number of VIPs and political leaders rushed to Mangalore as soon as the news of the air crash broke. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Union Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily were among them.

Force landed

Mr. Yeddyurappa left for Mangalore in the morning in a special IAF helicopter. He was accompanied by Home Minister V.S. Acharya and Fisheries Minister Krishna Palemar, who is also in-charge of Dakshina Kannada district besides Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Ajai Kumar Singh and Director-General (Fire Services) Jija Hari Singh. But the helicopter had to land near Hassan due to inclement weather and the Chief Minister travelled to Mangalore by road. This delayed his visit to the accident site.

Mr. Patel was the first among the ministers to reach Mangalore. He monitored the rescue operations for sometime and visited the hospital where the survivors were being treated. Mr. Krishna conducted an aerial inspection of the accident site. Several leaders from various political parties, including the former State unit president of the BJP D.V. Sadananda Gowda and local MP Nalin Kumar Katil were present. Congress MLA from Shantinagar N.A. Haris too left for Mangalore as his relative died in crash.

Condolence

Meanwhile, the former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) president, H.D. Deve Gowda, has called upon his party workers to extend all possible help to the district administration in carrying out rescue operations.

Mr. Yeddyurappa led the political leaders in offering condolences to the families of the victims.