Pilot in-command of the crashed Air India Express flight Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe, among those killed in the accident in Kozhikode, 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 on Saturday.
The Minister was speaking to mediapersons after arriving here to take stock of the crash of the Dubai-Kozhikode AIE flight with 190 people on board here on Friday night that left 18 people dead and scores injured and the relief measures.
"The aircraft was captained and operated by one of our most distinguished, experienced commanders, Captain Deepak Vasant Sathe. In fact, the Captain had more than 10,000 hours of flying experience. He has landed on this very air piece, I think as many as 27 times including this year", Puri said.
He appreciated the local airport authority officials, all other agencies and local people who participated in the rescue operations soon after the accident which also killed co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar.
The Minister said they acted in an exemplary manner.
The Boeing 737 aircraft overshot the tabletop runway at the airport here while landing in heavy rains and fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two portions.