In a late-night tragic incident in Kerala, as many as 20 people, including two pilots, lost their lives after an Air India Express plane skid off the runway, feel in a gorge and broke into two pieces at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport.
The two pilots who lost their lives were Wing Commander Deepak Vasant Sathe and Captain Akhilesh Kumar. The Commander was a decorated former fighter pilot with the Indian Air Force who flew planes for Air India before he went on to Air India Express flights.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, he was described as very experienced in flying Boeing 737 planes. Many even claim that he willingly switched off the engine of the plane minutes before the crash to avoid any sort of explosion and save the lives of people on board.
“Captain Deepak V Sathe was from the 58th course of the NDA. He was from the Juliet Squadron,” Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale (Retd) was quoted as telling PTI. Reportedly, he passed out from the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad with a Sword of Honour in June 1981.
The plane, a Boeing 737, overshot the runway at 7.41 PM on Friday and rolled 35 feet downslope into a george killing 20 people. Heavy rain in the region has resulted in such a misadventure.
Reportedly, the pilots had abandoned two landing attempts before making the third as they were aware of the situation. They kept circling the airport several times before the final landing.
The officials said that the plane was at full speed while landing and go past the runway and fell over in the valley.
The Air India Express flight IX-1344 from Dubai to Calicut was operating under Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indians stranded abroad because of coronavirus lockdowns.
A host of people came forward to mourn the loss of innocent lives and prayed for the safety of injured in the incident.