Kochi:  The Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed Air India to pay interim compensation of Rs.75 lakh each to the kin of 158 passengers who died in an air crash in Mangalore last year.

The direction was made by Justice P.R. Ramachandran Menon following a petition by the family of Mohammed Rafi, who died in the May 18 crash. The court directed Air India to pay the interim compensation in a month’s time.

An Air India Express flight 812 Dubai-Mangalore overshot the runway while landing at the Bajpe airport, about 20 km from Mangalore, and caught fire after plunging about 300 metres off a cliff.  Of the 158 victims, 53 were Keralites, most of them from the northern districts of Kasargode and Kannur.