Investigators into the Air India jet, which crashed on Saturday killing 158 passengers, have found the cockpit voice recorder showing that the pilot was suddenly ordered to abort the landing.
The pilot then tried to take off again, before crying: “Overshoot, overshoot,” according to his final exchanges with air traffic control.
The throttle of the Boeing 737-800 was reported to have been found in the forward position, also suggesting that the pilot had tried to abort the landing and take off again.
The pilot and co-pilot did not report any problems before landing the plane, the Indian Civil Aviation Authority said.
Praful Patel, India’s civil aviation minister, told reports that human error could not be ruled out and stressed that the runway where the plane tried to land was adequate.
Investigators are still combing the rubble for the flight data recorder, or “black box” that is expected to provide the most comprehensive clues into the accident.
It also emerged that one Indian man had lost 16 members of his family in what was India’s worst air disaster for 14 years. Air India Express Flight IX812 from Dubai crashed through a perimeter, plunged down a forested slope and burst into flames.
Air India defended the pilot’s record, saying that he was well trained to land at Mangalore, and had flown there at least 19 times before. Zlatko Glusica, 55, had been flying for Air India for three years after leaving JAT Airways.
Distraught relatives were identifying and collecting the remains of the victims who were all Indian nationals apart from the Serbian pilot. Indian officials said that all but 12 of the bodies had been claimed by last night.
Air India Express is the budget arm of India’s loss-making, state-run national carrier and most of the passengers were migrant workers returning home to see their families during their holidays.
Air India announced that victims’ families would receive an additional 1 million rupees, or about $21, 250 for each dead passenger older than 12, and 500,000 rupees, or about $10,600 for those under 12. Air India will pay injured passengers 200,000 rupees.
The Indian government said families would receive 200,000 rupees, or about $4,200, for each dead passenger and 50,000 rupees, or $1,000, for every injured passenger.