Captain Deepak Sathe killed in Kerala plane crash had big plans for mother’s birthday
“Today is the birthday of Capt Sathe’s mother. He had last met his parents in March and was constantly in touch with them over phone since then. They had last spoken a day before yesterday,” his nephew Dr Yashodhan Sathe told PTI on Saturday.Updated: Aug 09, 2020 07:30 IST
Former Indian Air Force pilot Captain Deepak Sathe had planned to pay a surprise visit to Nagpur on his octogenarian mother’s birthday on Saturday. However, a day before his mother could mark her 84th birthday, Sathe, 58, died in the air crash that claimed the lives of 17 others at Kerala’s Kozhikode airport.
“Today is the birthday of Capt Sathe’s mother. He had last met his parents in March and was constantly in touch with them over phone since then. They had last spoken a day before yesterday,” his nephew Dr Yashodhan Sathe told PTI on Saturday.
“Captain had told some of the relatives that if flights are available, he would pay a surprise visit to his mother on her birthday,” he said.
Captain Sathe, who was manning the ill-fated Air India Express flight coming in from Dubai, lived with his wife in Mumbai.
According to Captain Sathe’s cousin, Nilesh, he had survived an air crash in the early 1990s when he was in the Air Force.
“He was hospitalised for 6 months for multiple skull injuries and nobody thought that he would fly again. But his strong will power and love for flying made him clear the test again. It was a miracle,” Nilesh wrote in a Facebook post.
Captain Sathe’s mother, Neela, who lives with her husband Vasant Sathe, a retired colonel, in Bharat Nagar locality of Nagpur, said that after the coronavirus outbreak, he had told her not to step out of the house.
“He used to tell me not to go out due to the pandemic. He would tell me that if something happens to me, he would feel bad. And suddenly this tragedy struck...what can we do before the will of the God,” she told PTI.
She remembered him as being “top” in everything — be it studies or sports.
“He was brilliant in table tennis, squash. He was also very good at horse riding. Our son had also received the rare ’Sword of Honour’. However, he would not boast about his achievements,” she said.
Captain Sathe was a former Wing Commander of the IAF and had served at the force’s flight-testing establishment.
Dr Yashodhan said that the body of Captain Sathe is yet to be handed over to the family.
“His wife and brother-in-law are in Kozhikode, but the decision about where the last rites will be held is yet to be taken. Due to the coronavirus restrictions, we will not be able to go there,” he said.
“Pilot in-command of the crashed Air India Express flight Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe, among those killed in the accident here, was one of the most experienced commanders with more than 10,000 flying hours and had landed aircraft 27 times at the Karipur airport in the past,” civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said while interacting with media on Saturday.