New details are emerging from Air India plane crash at Kozhikode that shook the nation. By Saturday evening, the death toll was 19. The tragedy would have been all the more horrific had it not been for pilot Dipak Sathe. Now, his cousin says that as landing gear of the plane did not deploy, pilot Sathe made three rounds of the airport so that fuel tanks were empty. This created a massive difference as the plane didn't catch fire after it crashed. Sathe died in the crash, but his actions may have saved lives of more than 100 people onboard the plane.
Dipak Sathe's cousin Nilesh Sathe has written a heartfelt post on Facebook about this.
"...What is learnt is as follows:
Landing gears didn't work.
Ex IAF pilot made three rounds of airport to empty the fuel which saved plane from catching fire. That’s why there was no smoke seen coming from the crashed aircraft.
He turned off the engine right before the crash.
He belly landed after the 3rd iteration.
The right wing was ruptured.
The Pilot martyred but saved life of 180 co-passengers..."
Dipak Sathe was an ace pilot who has served in Indian Air Force 21 years before working as professional pilot. He was a National Defence Academy (NDA) graduate and was a topper in his course. He was awarded the 'Sword of Honour'.
Nilesh Sathe, pilot Sathe's cousin goes on to write more about his cousin and talks of their final conversation.
Air India Express flight IX-1344 crashed at 7:38 pm on Friday at Karipur airport in Kozhikode. The plane was coming from Dubai and skidded of the runway that was located atop a tabletop mountain.