'Rescue work painful, arduous'

Changappa, who rushed to Mangalore as soon as the news of the accident spread, said it was a horrendous tragedy.  “I've been camping here since morning. I can't describe how painful and arduous it is to engage in the rescue work,” he said speaking to Deccan Herald.

The fire brigade received the call around 6.15 am and ten fire tenders and two rescue vans were rushed immediately to the spot, Changappa added.  “Our work was hindered because of the rain which lashed the region in the morning. Luckily, rain stopped in the later part of the day,” he said.

As many as 80 firemen slogged for nearly 14 hours to control the fire and extricate the charred bodies and the rescue operation ended only around 7.30 pm, he said.  The fire brigade used foam extensively along with water to douse the fire that broke out in the Air India Express flight IX-892 after it overshot the runway at the Mangalore Airport killing 158 people early Saturday morning.

According to Changappa, they did not use DCP (Dicalcium Phosphate Power) to control the huge fire spread over the white foam covering remains of the horrific crash.  “DCP is used mainly in smaller fires and at narrow accident spots. This crash site, however, was much larger and hence DCP was not used,” he said. Six fire fighting vehicles from the Mangalore Airport and the Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited also joined in the operation.

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