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Mumbai plane crash: How could you let them test a flight in such bad weather, ask pilots’ families

The families said the company has refused to take responsibility for the incident.

mumbai Updated: Jun 29, 2018 11:10 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Sadaguru Pandit
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai plane crash,Ghatkopar plane crash
A relative of Captain Pardeep Singh Rajput at Rajawadi hospital on Thursday.(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

Prabhat Kathuria, husband of co-pilot Marya Zuberi, who died in the chartered plane crash at Ghatkopar, is still to come to terms with the loss. “I am wondering why they went ahead with a flight test in bad weather,” said Kathuria, a lawyer.

With 17 years of professional experience, Marya had flown for more than 1,000 hours and worked as a co-pilot with other aviation companies. “She joined UY Aviation just a month ago, but was a very experienced pilot. The flight was scheduled to take off at 11am and as all test flights usually last 1.45 hours, I panicked when she didn’t respond until 2pm,” said Kathuria.

His attempts to contact the company failed, but he saw the news of the crash on TV. Kathuria then rushed to Rajawadi hospital, to check if his wife was among the victims. “They showed me the body of a woman, but the earring was different. I recognised Marya by our wedding ring,” said Kathuria.

Captain Pardeep Singh Rajput, another victim, had thought the flight would be rescheduled, said Kathuria. “My wife had spoken to Captain Singh before leaving for work from our Mira Road home. He had said a test may not be possible in such weather,” said Kathuria.

Kulvinder Chauhan, brother-in-law of Captain Rajput, said the victim was against carrying out the test on Thursday. “His wife and 18-year-old daughter are in shock,” said Chauhan. His body was identified with the help of his bracelet (kada) and chain.

The families said the company has refused to take responsibility of the incident.

“The CEO of the company was driving ahead of us, but disappeared midway and did not to respond to our calls or visit the hospital. It needs to be investigated why a test flight was scheduled especially when the aircraft was just out of maintenance,” said Kathuria.

‘THERE WAS CONFUSION OVER NAME’

It took more than three hours of running around for Gopal Dubey to get to see his brother Govind’s body. Govind, 37, a Kalwa resident, used to fix windows in buildings. “He left home around 11am. As he was supposed to be working in the same building where the incident took place, we started calling him around 1.30pm. With no response, we rushed to Rajawadi hospital,” said Gopal. “The name of the fifth victim was mentioned as Govind Pandit, probably given by locals to the police. Only later did we realise it could be our brother as his colleagues called him Pandit.” The DNA sampling will be carried out on Friday. “Half of his face was visible despite the burns. We will now inform his wife and parents,” said Gopal.

First Published: Jun 29, 2018 11:03 IST