Deputy Commandant Bhagwati Prasad Bhatt did not have enough time to save himself and the passengers of his plane but it was his alertness that averted what could have been even a bigger disaster.
The BSF plane that crashed near the airport on Tuesday narrowly missed an express train, an aviation fuel depot and a residential colony -- all due to the deft handling of the crisis by the hero pilot.
All 10 people on board, including nine BSF troopers and a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) co-pilot were killed when the chartered plane flying to Ranchi crashed on Tuesday morning.
“Had there been a train on the track, the plane would have crashed on it as it was flying very low. The train had passed a few minutes before the plane came down. Similarly, a few metres away from the crash site, there is an ATF fuel depot. Had the plane hit it, it would have caused major damage at the airport,” said an airport official.
“We are sorry for the loss of lives but it was pilot’s brave effort that saved hundreds of other lives,” said an official.
Also, the pilot ensured that the plane did not crash on to the Shahbad Mohammadpur village, again saving lives.
According to civil defence volunteers, their first reaction was to check if there were any ‘fatalities’ at the residential colony. ”We first checked whether the plane has hit the colony or not,” said Vinod Kumar, a civil defence commandant. District Magistrate Ankur Garg and Sanjay Kumar, along with other team members of Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), also rushed to the spot.
According to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the road on which the plane skidded before ramming the airport wall is often used by its officers and the staff bus.