A Malaysia Airlines flight from Surat to KL was forced to land in the southern Indian city of Surat after the captain of the Boeing 777 lost consciousness and was unable to control his flight and the flight’s co-pilot did not respond to commands, authorities said.
The crash of the plane, which had taken off from Surapur, killed all 162 people on board, according to police and an aviation safety expert.
The Boeing 777, with 224 people on the flight, was heading to Beijing for a five-day trip, the Indian embassy said in a statement.
A spokesman for the airline said in an emailed statement: ‘The aircraft was at the right altitude and the aircraft was well equipped for a long journey.
It took off at about 11:30 am (07:30 GMT) on Wednesday from Surad and the crew was able to fly for about 2 hours.
‘It is too early to say the cause of the accident, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday morning, but we have no information to suggest that there was any deliberate action by the pilots or the co-passengers to alter the flight path.’
Malaysia Airlines said it had not received any reports of passengers suffering from hypothermia or other respiratory problems.
The Boeing 737, a commercial airliner, was a twin-engine Boeing 777 that was designed to carry around 300 people and had a maximum cruising altitude of 35,000 feet (10,400 metres).
A plane was flying at high altitude near Surat when it crashed into a hill, the Malaysian Civil Aviation Department said in its Twitter account.
Malaysian police chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told reporters at a briefing on Thursday that the captain, who was in the cockpit, was unconscious and unable to speak.’
He was in a state of shock, unconscious and couldn’t respond,’ he said.
‘He was not able to give commands to the coxswain, and then the coz of the cof (co-pilots) became unable to respond.’
The Boeing was flying between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing when it was hit by a storm and the plane’s engine broke down.
It crashed in a field in Kota Baru, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, about 50 kilometres (31 miles) from the Malaysian coast.
Police and fire crews arrived at the crash site after darkness fell on Thursday.
The pilot of the flight was still breathing but had lost consciousness.
The aircraft had just taken off for a seven-day tour of China when it went down in the night, Malaysian Airline said in online messages.