Kozhikode: The black boxes from the Air India Express flight that crash-landed at the Karipur airport in Kerala, killing 18 people so far, have been recovered after a probe team landed in Kozhikode on Saturday morning.

A DGCA official said that the Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) has been recovered from the aircraft and the floor board was cut to retrieve the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) from the plane that was broken into two pieces after it skidded off a tabletop runway amid heavy rain.

The black box - a Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) and a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) - stores hundreds of data-points, including information about an aircraft's performance, speed, braking and system status, as well as records of conversations between the pilots. These are critical in helping aviation investigators understand what happened to flight IX-1344.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, who reached in Kozhikode this afternoon, said he would hold consultations with senior civil aviation officials and professionals. A team from national aviation watchdog DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has already reached the crash site.

Meanwhile, Air India Express has arranged two special relief flights from Delhi and one from Mumbai for rendering humanitarian assistance to all the passengers and the family members.

Flightradar24, a Swedish flight tracker website that displays real-time commercial flight movement, indicated IX-1344 circled the airport and tried to land twice. A DGCA investigator told news agency ANI the pilots faced difficulties landing on their designated runway before making an attempt from the opposite side, during which the plane skidded, overshot and crash-landed.

The flight was operating under the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indians stranded abroad because of the coronavirus lockdown. There were 184 people on board the plane, including 10 babies and four crew members. Many of the passengers were returning home after losing their jobs due to the pandemic. The injured passengers are being treated at 13 hospitals in and around Kozhikode airport and city, Union Minister V Muraleedharan had told.

A tabletop runway is a runway on the top of a plateau or hill, with one or both ends adjacent to a steep elevation that drops into a gorge. Such an airport presents pilots with a challenge when landing. Conditions at the time of flight IX-1344's landing - heavy monsoon rain made the runway's surface slick - were an additional challenge.