The pilot of the air ambulance that made an emergency landing in Najafgarh on Tuesday had just one thing on his mind – avoid any casualty.
“I barely had 15 seconds to think. Had I chosen to approach the runway, the plane would have fallen on the residential area, causing casualties,” said Amit Kumar, who was the pilot-in-command of the air ambulance that crashlanded on a field, a few kilometres from the Delhi airport.
When the air ambulance was 10 minutes away from the airport, the first engine of the Beechcraft King Air C90 plane failed. There were seven people on board, including a patient, crew members and doctors. Kumar, at this point of time, requested for an emergency landing but the process took time.
“The plane was at a height of 12,000 feet when the first engine failed. Even as I started descending and followed the process of emergency landing, the second engine failed. We were flying at the height of 3,000 feet at that stage. You get time to manoeuvre when you are at the height of 10,000 or above but in this case, I was left with no option. I could have taken the risk of approaching the runway, which was just five minutes away, but there was risk of crashing on the residential buildings of Najafgarh and Dwarka,” Kumar added.
32-year-old Kumar is a native of Jhajjar in Haryana and lives in Dwarka with his parents, wife and two kids. Flying experience of over five years and knowledge of areas around Dwarka helped him save lives. “In the 15 seconds I got to think, I knew there would be open field in Najafgarh. I looked for it and decided to land,” he added.
Kumar said he was not sure that the plane would be able to land. His co-pilot, Rohit Kumar, helped him in the process, which, he said; he won’t be able to forget throughout life.
He said he had no time to even think about his family during the crisis hours.
“If I was thinking about my family at that time, I would not be able to talk to you. My family was worried till the time I reached home. I will fly again as there is risk involved in every job. More people die in road accident than in plane crash,” said Kumar.