Relief, pride, joy
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Relief, pride, joy

At the home of Captain S.S. Kohli, whose presence of mind averted a major tragedy at Mumbai airport, reports Sanjeev K Ahuja.

india Updated: Feb 11, 2009 13:12 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Sanjeev K Ahuja
Hindustan Times

Captain Sukhvinder Singh Kohli’s family want a gallantry award for him.

“For his act of bravery,” said his wife Apneet Kaur. “For saving the lives of more than a hundred passengers,” said his mother Manjit Kohli.

On Monday, the Gurgaon resident was behind the controls of Air India’s Mumbai-Delhi flight IC 866. Seconds before take-off, he spotted a military helicopter -- part of the President's entourage -- in the way. As Kohli braked hard, one of the tyres of the fast moving Airbus A-321 burst. The plane skidded but stopped in the nick of time.

Name cleared

While an inquiry had been marked into the incident on Monday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation cleared Kohli’s name on Tuesday, and he was allowed to resume flying with immediate effect.

Speaking to HT on the phone, the 40-year-old credited his training for successfully pulling off the emergency manoeuvre. “I have logged 12,000 flying hours since I started flying in 1988, after graduating from Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy.”


Back home in their Ambience Island apartment, Kohli’s wife, mother and two sons -- Shobit and Simrat -- were joined by their relatives in the evening, to give the captain a hero’s welcome. “From the airport, we will go to the gurdwara, as God enabled him to take a quick decision. He is a very religious person and always visits the gurdwara before flying,” said Kaur.

First Published: Feb 11, 2009 13:09 IST