Death toll from Air India Express aircraft crash rises to 18

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Officials inspect the wreckage of an Air India Express aircraft that crashed on landing at Calicut International Airport in Kerala on August 8, 2020. (AFP)
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First responders inspect the wreckage of an Air India Express jet, which was carrying more than 190 passengers and crew from Dubai, after it crashed by overshooting the runway at Calicut International Airport in Karipur, Kerala, on August 7, 2020. (AFP)
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Rows of ambulances are seen outside the Calicut International Airport where a passenger plane crashed after it overshot the runway in Karipur, in the southern state of Kerala, India, August 7, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 08 August 2020

Death toll from Air India Express aircraft crash rises to 18

  • The Air India Express plane from Dubai had 191 passengers and crew on board when it overshot the runway
  • There were 10 infants on board

KOZHIKODE, India: The death toll from an Indian passenger aircraft accident has risen to 18, while 16 people have been seriously injured, a senior government official said on Saturday.

The Air India Express plane, which was repatriating Indians stranded in Dubai due to the coronavirus pandemic, overshot the runway of the Calicut International Airport in heavy rain near the southern city of Kozhikode on Friday. It was India’s worst passenger aircraft accident since 2010.

The flight was carrying 190 passengers and crew.

The plane’s pilot and the co-pilot were killed in the accident, K Gopalakrishnan, chief of the Malappuram district in the southern state of Kerala, told Reuters.

All survivors were admitted to various hospitals and were also tested for COVID-19, Gopalakrishnan said, adding that autopsies of the dead would also be carried out according to the COVID-19 protocol.

Some 149 patients remain in hospital after some were discharged on Saturday, Gopalakrishnan said.

Authorities have also asked local people who rushed out to help the passengers trapped in the plane to go into quarantine.

The Boeing-737 plane skidded off the table-top runway of Calicut, crashing nose-first into the ground. Such runways are located at an altitude and have steep drops at one or both ends.

In 2010, another Air India Express flight from Dubai overshot the table-top runway at Mangalore, a city in the south, and slid down a hill, killing 158 people.

Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri visited the site of the accident on Saturday.

“It (the plane) overshot the runway while trying to land amidst what were clearly inclement weather conditions prevailing at that time,” Puri told a news conference, adding that it would be premature to speculate on the precise cause of the accident.

Puri said two separate teams had already reached Kozhikode from New Delhi to carry out an investigation into the crash.

He said authorities managed to rescue most of the passengers because the plane did not catch fire while descending the slope at the end of the runway.

The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been recovered from the site, a top official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.

Giving a breakdown of all those on board the plane, Puri earlier said they included 10 children, 174 adult passengers, four cabin crew and two pilots.

“The pilot tried a lot to land us (safely) in the rainy weather. It was cloudy and around 7-7.30 p.m. (GMT 1330-1400) in the evening, we crash-landed. It was difficult to land, he tried a lot,” said one passenger, who gave his name as Ashraf.

India, which halted all flights in late March to try to contain the coronavirus, has restarted limited international air travel.

Air India Express AXB1344 was a government-operated repatriation flight for Indians previously unable to return home because of travel restrictions.


Trump paid $750 in US income taxes in 2016, 2017: NY Times

Updated 28 September 2020

Trump paid $750 in US income taxes in 2016, 2017: NY Times

  • In 2017, Trump paid $145,400 in taxes in India and $156,824 in the Philippines
  • Trump relied on business tax credits to reduce his tax obligations in the US, says report

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he ran for president and in his first year in the White House, according to a report Sunday in The New York Times.
Trump, who has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public, paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years.
The details of the tax filings complicate Trump’s description of himself as a shrewd and patriotic businessman, revealing instead a series of financial losses and income from abroad that could come into conflict with his responsibilities as president. The president’s financial disclosures indicated he earned at least $434.9 million in 2018, but the tax filings reported a $47.4 million loss.
The disclosure, which the Times said comes from tax return data it obtained extending over two decades, comes at a pivotal moment ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday and weeks before a divisive election against Democrat Joe Biden.
Speaking at a news conference Sunday at the White House, Trump dismissed the report as “fake news” and maintained he has paid taxes, though he gave no specifics. He also vowed that information about his taxes “will all be revealed,” but he offered no timeline for the disclosure and made similar promises during the 2016 campaign on which he never followed through.
In fact, the president has fielded court challenges against those seeking access to his returns, including the US House, which is suing for access to Trump’s tax returns as part of congressional oversight.
During his first two years as president, Trump received $73 million from foreign operations, which in addition to his golf properties in Scotland and Ireland included $3 million from the Philippines, $2.3 million from India and $1 million from Turkey. The president in 2017 paid $145,400 in taxes in India and $156,824 in the Philippines, compared to just $750 in US income taxes.
Trump found multiple ways to reduce his tax bills. He has taken tax deductions on personal expenses such as housing, aircraft and $70,000 to style his hair while he filmed “The Apprentice.” Losses in the property businesses solely owned and managed by Trump appear to have offset income from his stake in “The Apprentice” and other entities with multiple owners.
During the first two years of his presidency, Trump relied on business tax credits to reduce his tax obligations. The Times said $9.7 million worth of business investment credits that were submitted after Trump requested an extension to file his taxes allowed him to reduce his income and pay just $750 each in 2016 and 2017.
Income tax payments help finance the military and domestic programs.
Trump, starting in 2010, claimed and received an income tax refund that totaled $72.9 million, which the Times said was at the core of an ongoing audit by the IRS.
Rep. Richard Neal, the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee who has tried unsuccessfully to obtain Trump’s tax records, said the Times report makes it even more essential for his committee to get the documents.
“It appears that the President has gamed the tax code to his advantage and used legal fights to delay or avoid paying what he owes,” Neal wrote in a statement. “Now, Donald Trump is the boss of the agency he considers an adversary. It is essential that the IRS’s presidential audit program remain free of interference.”
A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on the report.
Garten told the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate.”
He said in a statement to the news organization that the president “has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.”
The New York Times said it declined to provide Garten with the tax filings in order to protect its sources.
During his first general election debate against Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, Clinton said that perhaps Trump wasn’t releasing his tax returns because he had paid nothing in federal taxes.
Trump interrupted her to say, “That makes me smart.”