The small plane that crashed in Mumbai today, killing four people on board, could have smashed into a school. It was saved by the diligence of pilot Captain Maria Zuberi and Captain Pradeep Rajput - said the pilot's husband P Kuthariya. The pilot of the 12-seater Beechcraft King Air C90 had also managed to stay clear of the many high-rises in the area.
The pilot, who was trying to make an emergency landing at Mumbai airport after the plane developed engine trouble, fell short of the runway. The plane crashed into an empty construction site before the landing process could be completed.
P Kuthariya said he learnt of the news from the media. "I had texted her to see if she had landed or not... then saw the news on TV," he said.
He said he got to know that the pilots tried a lot to save the flight. "They crashed before they could complete emergency landing. Maria and Capt. Rajput have given their lives for kids and people of Mumbai, they prevented the plane from crashing into a school," he added.
Former aviation minister Praful Patel had also tweeted, applauding the pilots.
Saddened to hear about the unfortunate incident at #ghatkopar as Charter plane crashes in an open area. Salute to the pilot who showed presence of mind to avoid a big mishap, saving many lives at the cost of her own life. #RIP to all the 5 Dead. My deepest condolences.- Praful Patel (@praful_patel) June 28, 2018
All four on board - two pilots and two maintenance engineers - had died. Aircraft maintenance engineer Surabhi was more than two months pregnant, according to news agency IANS. The fourth person was aircraft junior technician Manish Pandey.
Recalling the events before the flight took off from the Juhu Aerodrome for a test flight, P Kuthariya said his wife had initially told him that the flight had been put off.
"The test flight was aborted yesterday as the runway was filled with water. It was to be aborted again today due to bad weather. The flight could have been avoided. Haste, if any, was wrong. Lives could have been saved," he said.
The family, he said, has not heard anything from the UY Aviation, the Mumbai-based private company that owned the plane. "Company CEO hasn't met us yet. They asked us to reach office. They are untraceable right now," he added.