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Alliance Airways Flight Crashes

July 17, 2000

PATNA, India (AP) _ An Alliance Air passenger plane carrying 58 people crashed just before a scheduled landing Monday in eastern India, an airport manager said.

Relatives, police and airport workers mobbed the smoldering pile of metal wreckage, screaming and crying as they tried to find survivors on the tarmac at the airport in the capital of India’s poorest state, Bihar.

Witnesses said five members out of a family of seven died when the plane crashed on their house a third of a mile southwest of Patna airport.

Airport station manager H.H. Khan said 58 people were on the flight by Alliance Air, a subsidiary of state-owned Indian Airlines that makes short domestic flights.

Khan could not confirm reports of witnesses, who said they rushed to the plane and saved six people. No bodies or ambulances could be seen as the crowd scrambled over and around the wreckage.

Some men grabbed a water hose and tried to help airport security put out the flames. More than 20 fire engines surrounded the rubble and put out the flames about three hours after the crash.

Star News independent television said the plane was a Boeing 737 that could hold 119 people. Witnesses told the television that an engine caught fire before the crash.

The Alliance Air flight left Calcutta for New Delhi, with a scheduled stop at 7:15 a.m. in Patna before a second stop in Lucknow, capital of Uttar Pradesh state.

Update hourly