An “incorrect” flight path could have caused the crash of the Air India Express aircraft from Dubai at Bajpe airport here, a senior Airport Authority of India official said on Sunday.

The official, who visited the crash site, told PTI, “An incorrect flight path could have been a possible reason (for yesterday’s mishap).”

The official, who refused to be identified, was called in to assist in the investigations into the crash, which killed all but eight of 166 people on board. The plane overshot the runway, veered off and plunged into a ravine before bursting into flames.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the crash site yesterday, Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel had said the aircraft did not contain itself within the limited space on touchdown and overshot the spill over area on the runway.

He had also stated that the runway was operationally compliant and technically fit for operating an aircraft of Boeing 737-800 series and the plane was just two-and-a-half years old with no history of defects or malfunctioning.

Patel had also said visibility was sufficient, the runway dry and the two pilots, including the commander, an expatriate from Serbia, had good flying experience.

The minister had, however, refused to comment on whether the accident was a result of pilot error and said he would await the report of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which is inquiring into the disaster.

Officials to speed up identification process

A day after the country’s worst tragedy in a decade claimed 158 lives, authorities were hurrying with the post mortem of the crash victims to prevent the condition of the bodies from deteriorating.

Around 50 of the 104 bodies identified so far are from Kasaragod and Kannur districts of neighbouring Kerala.

Priority was being given to post-mortem as identifying the badly-charred bodies has become more difficult now with rapid decomposition, Superintendent of Police (Kasaragod) P Prakash said.

At the hospital, relatives of the victims were seen trying hard to identify their loved ones with their faces covered with masks.

Many bodies were charred in the fire that consumed the aircraft after it crashed yesterday, making it difficult to identify them.

DNA experts from Hyderabad have arrived here for a detailed examination of the bodies as part of the identification process.

Search operation is on to recover the Cockpit Voice Recorder, commonly known as the black box, of the aircraft as it will help ascertain the exact cause of the mishap.

Civil Aviation Director General V Chopra is slated to visit the crash site later in the day, as also Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi to coordinate relief operations.