Mangaluru : Pilot Captain Deepak Vasanth Sathe, whose presence of mind helped save lives of many passengers onboard the ill-fated Air India Express plane had served at Air India’s base in Mangaluru for 15 months between 2015-16.
During this period, Sathe and his wife were residing at Nagi apartment near Kadri park. The apartment residents recall him as a simple and friendly person.
Real estate businessman Lancelot Saldanha, who was acquainted with the couple says, “Sathe was an efficient and experienced pilot. He had served in the Air Force and was a very disciplined person.”
Speaking to Udayavani G B Atri, retired wing commander of IAF who had worked alongside Sathe in 1988-90 said, “Sathe’s last-minute decision to turn off the engine averted a major catastrophe.”
The Air India Express flight with 191 passengers and crew on board overshot the runway and fell into a valley, breaking into two portions, on Friday evening.
Survivors recounted that Deepak Sathe had warned them prior to landing. He even tried to land the plane with safety twice but was unsuccessful. However as the plane skidded off the runway, he turned off the engine which ensured that the plane did not go up in flames, saving many lives.