Kerela, August 8, 2020: In a disheartening incident witnessed in Kerala, an Air India flight returning from Dubai skidded off the runway at the Calicut airport and fell 35 feet into the valley amidst heavy rain on Friday. Both pilots died in the crash.
Mumbai’s Captain Deepak Sathe, a former Air force pilot was one of the pilots of the Air India Express plane, an alumnus of the 58th course of National Defence Academy (NDA), Pune. He also flew the MiG-21 fighter aircraft with 17 Squadron (Golden Arrows) in Ambala. “Sathe passed out from Air Force Academy with Sword of Honour in June 1981 and was a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force,” said Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale (Retd).
At least 17 people had been killed, and more than a hundred were injured in this horrific tragedy. The airplane was returning from Dubai under the Vande Bharat Mission which had 190 people on board. According to the reports, the plane slid off the runaway and split into three pieces. Heavy rains and low visibility in the region caused the crash.
Years of bravery and honour
This accident could have been severe, if not for Capt Sathe. The fleet to which Capt Sathe belonged witnessed action in the 1999 Kargil War. He was recently resurrected with the induction of multi-role Rafale jet fighters, built by France’s Dassault. Sathe then served as a trainer at Air Force Training Academy, after taking premature training from IAF. Sathe was extremely professional and had been presented with 58 NDA President Gold Medal Award. His love for the squad is being remembered by his followers vastly. Captain also served as a station commander at Kutch.
During the Kutch earthquake, Captain flew President Abdul Kalam and PM Narendra Modi. He has also saved many lives during the earthquake.
Netizens remember his glory
The Captain is survived by two sons, one who lives in Bangalore and the other in the United States. They are expected to reach Kerala soon. Acknowledging Sathe’s sad demise, netizens expressed their grief and poured in RIP messages in his honor. A user handle Parveen Kaswan tweeted, “Respect, sir. You did your best. Before joining civil aviation, you were a decorated Indian Air Force pilot. Captain/Wing Commander DV Sathe”