A story of hope that turned into a tragedy, discovery+’s documentary titled Vande Bharat Flight IX1344: Hope To Survival, retells the accident that shook India. 

On 7th August 2020, India witnessed a rescue flight from Dubai to Kerala meet an unfortunate fate. And after watching this documentary and learning of the reasons behind it, you’ll be left fuming. 

News18 / Reuters

The incident which took place in Kozhikode upon arrival at the Calicut International Airport, claimed the lives of 21 people. Including both the pilots and a child. This 45-minute documentary shows the truth behind what actually took place. 

The Tribune

It narrates how the locals and the rescue teams joined forces to save the passengers stuck inside the flight. Not to mention, the tear-jerking narrative of a passenger who missed boarding his flight, leaving one of the seats where the flight cracked – empty and saving his life. 

Gulf News

Aviation experts like Captain Amit Singh (Pilot and Aviation Blogger), Captain Mohan Ranganathan (Independent Aviation Professional) and Captain Sandeep Baweja (Pilot / Former colleague of Captain Sathe) talk about how the weather – a live storm that overlook the city and the fact that Calicut International Airport is one of the most dangerous runways in the world, impacted the fate of this rescue flight. And reflects on the authorities’ more-than-often behavior of blaming the pilots for these ill-fated crashes. 

The tabletop runway has been a cause of concern for many years. According to experts, the airport has been asked to make an Engineered materials arresting system, which has been successful in reducing such accidents. However, the construction of this did not take place – because the cost of repair was considered to be too high – and so it was never made.  

Several warnings were issued after a 2010 crash at the Mangalore airport, which is also a tabletop runway. However, they were ignored. Mohan Ranganathan, an Aviation Safety consultant even spoke about how he had to take to social media to discuss his safety concerts over the airport, because no one would take them seriously. 

The tabletop runway in Calicut is a 230 foot drop, and still – safety precautions were not taken seriously. The documentary explores various other factors that could have caused this crash – including the fact that the rubber debris from the runway hadn’t been cleaned, and reduced fiction – something that the airport authorities were aware of. 

This 45-minute documentary will leave you frustrated, angry and visibly upset. But it definitely is something every Indian must watch. 

All images are from discovery+ unless mentioned otherwise.