A resident of Powai in Mumbai, Captain Deepak V Sathe is among at least 17 victims of the crash that occurred Friday night in Kerala’s Kozhikode.

Captain Deepak V Sathe is among at least 17 victims of the crash that occurred Friday night in Keralas Kozhikode
news Air Crash Saturday, August 08, 2020 - 08:01

Captain Deepak V Sathe, the pilot of the Air India Express plane that crashed in Kerala’s Kozhikode on Friday, was an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune and a former Indian Air Force officer, who flew the MiG-21 fighter aircraft with 17 Squadron (Golden Arrows) in Ambala.

Capt Sathe had a 30-year long and accident free flying record, including around 18 years with Air India.

"Capt Deepak V Sathe was from 58th course of National Defence Academy, Pune. He was from Juliet Squadron," said Air Marshal Bhushan Gokhale (Retd). "Sathe passed out from Air Force Academy with Sword of Honour in June 1981 and was a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force," he added.

At least 17 people have been killed and over a hundred injured after an Air India Express repatriation flight from Dubai to Kozhikoden crashed on landing at Kozhikode International Airport, known also as Karipur Airport. The pilot and co-pilot, First Officer Akhilesh Kumar, both died in the crash. 

According to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Air India Express AXB1344, a B737 aircraft, with 190 people onboard, landed on Runway 10 amid visibility of 2,000 metres in heavy rain, but overshot and nose-dived into the valley.

The aircraft slid off the tabletop runway while landing and plunged 30 feet below. According to reports, it split into three pieces on impact. There were reports of heavy rain and low visibility in the region on Friday. 

The squadron which Capt Sathe belonged to saw action in the 1999 Kargil war and has been recently resurrected with the induction of multi-role Rafale jet fighters, built by France's Dassault.

Sathe, who had also served as an instructor at the Air Force Training Academy, had taken premature retirement from the IAF, shifted to civilian flying and joined Air India.

A pall of gloom descended on the Powai suburb in north-east Mumbai following the death of Capt Sathe, who was a resident of Jalvayu Building in Powai.

According to local residents, he is survived by two sons, one of whom lives in Bengaluru while the other is in the US. They are expected to reach Kerala soon.

Sathe was also an excellent squash player, Air Marshal Bhushan reminisced. 

With IANS and PTI inputs

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