How Capt Deepak Sathe saved lives!

Published: August 8,2020 03:16 PM

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Aug 8, 2020: The casualty in Friday's plane crash at Kozhikode would have been much higher had the pilot not acted swiftly.

Aug 8, 2020: The casualty in Friday's plane crash at Kozhikode would have been much higher had the pilot not acted swiftly. Capt Deepak Sathe, one of the two pilots who were killed in the plane crash had saved over a hundred lives by his presence of mind.

It was 7.40 PM on Friday. The Air India Express flight from Dubai was about to land at Kozhikode airport. It was raining heavily, making the visibility low. Amidst this adverse weather, Captain Deepak Sathe and co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar had prepared to land after two failed attempts. But destiny had planned otherwise. The plane made its landing, but the pilots failed to reduce the speed. It skidded off the runway and went towards the edge of the table top airport. As the speed continued, Capt Sathe and Capt Akhilesh realised what was going to happen. But there was very little left to be done. However, Capt Sathe didn’t lose his calm. He immediately switched off the engine. Despite this, the plane continued its speed. And moments later, it fell into a 35 feet gorge, broken into two pieces.

As the tragedy happened, both Capt Sathe and Cap Akhilesh sustained grievous injury and died. The plane had 174 adults, 10 infants and 5 crew members. Many of them sustained injury. Many were struck in the plane's wreckage. But, it was it was the last minute act of Capt Sathe that saved many more lives. As he switched off the engine, the engine didn't catch fire despite it fell down. Had he not showed his presence of mind, the casualty figure could have been much higher that what it is now. It is his last heroic that people will always remember him for. Though he lost his life in the last sortie, such situations were not new for him.

He was an Indian Air Force Pilot. Captain Deepak Sathe was an alumnus of the National Defence Academy. He had over 30 years of flying experience. Sathe was commissioned with the Indian Air Force in 1981 and retired in 2003. Capt Deepak V Sathe was from 58th course of National Defence Academy, Pune. He was from Juliet Squadron. Sathe passed out from Air Force Academy with Sword of Honour in June 1981. He was a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force. He had also served with No.17 Squadron, Golden Arrows, which was recently recommissioned with the Rafale fighter jet. Sathe was an experienced Boeing 737-800 aircraft pilot. He had earlier also flown the Airbus A-310. Sathe was an ex-Wing Commander of the IAF and had served at the force's flight testing establishment. During most of his 22 years in IAF, he spent flying the MIG-21s. He forged a career in corporate flying before joining Air India and Air India Express. Sathe was also an excellent squash player. Apart from Capt Sathe and Capt Akhilesh, 18 other passengers lost lives in the tragedy. 15 of those on board had lost their jobs and 12 were returning for a medical emergency. Two people on board were coming back for their weddings.