It hard to believe that Captain Dipak Vasant Sathe, pilot of the Air India Express Vande Bharat Mission flight (AXB1344, B737) died when the aircraft skidded off the runway at Kozhikode International Airport in Kerala on Friday night’s.
After all, what have learned from the plane crash is that Ex IAF pilot made three rounds of the airport to empty the fuel which saved the plane from catching fire. That’s why there was no smoke seen coming from the crashed aircraft. The death toll from the crash could have been higher had the pilot not switched off the engine in time.
Deepak was an experienced aerial operator with 36 years of flying experience. A pass out of NDA, topper in the 58th course, and an awardee of ‘Sword of Honour’, Dipak served Indian Air Force for 21 years before joining as a Commercial Pilot with Air India in 2005.
Just a week before he was jovial, as always. When asked him about the ‘ Vande Bharat’ Mission, he was proud of bringing back our countrymen from Arab countries. When asked him, “Dipak, do you carry empty Aircraft since those countries are not allowing entry of passengers?” He had replied,” Oh, No. We carry fruits, vegetables, medicines, etc to these countries and never the aircraft flies to these countries empty.”
He survived in an air crash in the early nineties when he was in Airforce. He was hospitalized for 6 months for multiple skull injuries and nobody thought that he will fly again. But his strong will power and love for flying made him clear the test again. It was a miracle.
He leaves behind his wife and two sons, both pass outs of IIT Mumbai. He is a son of Brigadier Vasant Sathe who stays in Nagpur along with his wife. His brother, Captain Vikas, was also an Army man who laid his life while serving in the Jammu region.
A soldier lays his life to save the lives of his countrymen. It reminds me of a poem by a soldier:
If I die in a war zone,
Box me up & send me home
Put my medals on my chest,
Tell my Mom I did the best
Tell my Dad not to bow,
He won’t get tension from me now,
Tell my brother to study perfectly,
Keys of my bike will be his permanently
Tell my Sis not to be upset,
Her Bro will not rise after this sunset
And tell my love not to cry,
“Because I am a soldier Born to Die….”
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