The crash of the Air India aircraft at Mangalore airport today sent shock waves in north Kerala districts of Kasargode and Kannur as majority of passengers on board were believed to be from the area.
Government sources said most of the passengers were believed to be Keralites.
The area has thousands of people working in the Gulf and they mostly use Mangalore airport for air travel, official sources said.
Being the marriage season in the area, many Keralites from Dubai have been coming home in the last few weeks, a local resident said.
Among those feared killed in the crash was the secretary of local Jama-ath council and the president of a co-operative bank at Neeleswaram near here.
Expressing grief over the tragedy, Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan said the State government would extend all possible help to bereaved families and logistical support for rescue and relief operations.
The Chief Minister had cancelled all official programmes and left for Mangalore. State Health Minister P. K. Sreemathy, who hails from north Kerala, has also rushed to the spot.