Air India loses fourth pilot to Covid-19
National carrier Air India lost its fourth pilot to Covid-19. Captain Prasad Karmakar, a Mumbai resident who actively operated flights to the United States (US) under the Vande Bharat mission passed away at 6.30pm on Thursday.
Capt. Karmarkar joined Air India in 1990 as an avionics engineer and started flying in 1997.
A condolence message from the airline’s pilots said, “Capt. Karmakar was soft-spoken by nature but a thorough gentleman. Well known for being sincere and hardworking towards his profession. Capt. Karmakar, has over the years captained the Airbus 310 and the Boeing 777 aircraft types. Collectively he has served Air India for over 30 years. He was actively involved in flying Vande Bharat missions throughout the pandemic until he recently fell ill with Covid19. He will be missed dearly. We extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved family and assure all our support.”
Capt. Karmakar last operated a Chicago-Delhi flight on April 25 and developed symptoms after returning to Mumbai. He tested positive for Covid-19 on April 29, after which, he was admitted to SRV Hospital on April 30.
“Capt. Karmakar was first admitted to SRV hospital but was shifted to Hiranandani hospital on May 20,” said a pilot friend.
Capt. Karmakar left behind his wife and two daughters. A senior pilot said, “Capt. Karmakar is the fourth captain to lose his life to Covid, in this month alone.”
Capt. Amitesh Prasad, a senior Air India pilot who operated flights under the government’s Vande Bharat Mission (VBM), Boeing 777, and also cargo flights, lost his battle to Covid-19 on May 9. The 54-year-old, a resident of Kandivli, had last landed in Bengaluru on April 15. He complained of symptoms after reaching Mumbai and tested positive on April 20, after which, he was immediately admitted to the hospital.
Two more pilots- Capt. Sandeep Rana and Capt. GPS Gill too succumbed to Covid-19 this month.
“It gets very disturbing when you come to know that your colleague is critical or has passed away due to Covid-19. Initially, you fail to reconcile that such a tragedy has happened but then gradually the reality sets in. The series of such deaths of our friends is leading to stress and impacting our mental health,” said a senior pilot.