The plane was returning from a surveillance and reconnaissance mission late Wednesday, when it crashed into the Artos mountains in the eastern province of Van, near the border with Iran, Suleyman Soylu told reporters.
In October 1976, a South Indian star, Rani Chandra, and others had gone to the UAE to take part in one such event. While flying back from Abu Dhabi to Madras, via Bombay, Thangal decided not to go with the troupe.
"The discussion throughout was about corona," Sarwar said, referring to exchanges between the pilot and co-pilot he said he had listened to on the cockpit voice recorder. "Corona was dominant over their mind. Their family was affected (by the virus)."
Bollywood celebrities took to social media to express shock and grief over the Kozhikode plane crash incident.
Friday turned out to be a black day for the people of Kerala.
One flight each from Dubai, Muscat and Jeddah are expected late at night on schedule. Flights bound for Jeddah and Sharjah left for their destinations during the day.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces offered his condolences to Indian PM Narendra Modi after the Friday Air India plane crash and floods in Kerala.
"The hull insurance of (the aircraft) AP-BLD 2274 is $19.7 million and the amount will go to the owner (of the plane) from whom the PIA acquired it on lease,” spokesperson for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Abdullah H. Khan said.
Investigators found the plane's black box flight recorder two days after the crash. Pakistan's Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said a French-led investigation team would analyse the Airbus A320's recorders.