Malappuram: As many as 26 volunteers who reached the Air India Express plane crash site in Kozhikode, 48 km from here, and evacuated the injured passengers on August 7, have tested positive for COVID-19. Also Read - India Extends $250 Million Worth Financial Support to Maldives to Tackle COVID-19

“As far as my information from the airport sources goes, as many as 26 localpeople, involved in the rescue operations, have tested positive for the virus so far and are now under medical care,” the Malappuram District Medical Officer Dr K Sakeena told PTI. Also Read - IPL 2020, Match 3 Preview: Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

District Collector K Gopalakrishnan, Superintendent of Police U Abdul Kareem and 21 officials, including police and fire force personnel, also involved in the rescue operations, had also tested positive. Also Read - IPL 2020: Jos Buttler Will Miss Rajasthan Royals' Season Opener Against Chennai Super Kings

Nineteen people, including the pilot and co-pilot, were killed and several injured when the flight with 190 people on board overshot the table-top runway and fell into a valley and broke into pieces.

The youngsters, who all stay around the airport area, had rushed to the accident site braving the heavy rains and COVID-19 fears and taken the injured to the various hospitals, drawing praise from various quarters, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The volunteers had been asked by the Health Minister K K Shailaja to go on quarantine after one of the deceased passengers tested positive for the pathogen.