The afternoon of Thursday, 28 June 2018, brought some tragic news—a private plane had crashed into a building in Ghatkopar, Mumbai.
As more details of the incident started coming in, it was revealed the small Beechcraft C90 plane had crashed into a construction site, and not a building as reported earlier, which is incredible, because Ghatkopar is a densely-populated residential area.
Unfortunately, five people including the pilot had lost their lives in the tragedy.
According to a report by News 18, before its test flight on Thursday, the 12-seater plane was last flown on 22 February 2008 and was sold to UY aviation by the UP government in 2014. Additionally, it did not have the mandatory certificate for airworthiness.
Former Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, sent out an appreciative tweet to the pilot who lost her life, saying, “Saddened to hear about the unfortunate incident at #ghatkopar as Charter plane crashes in an open area. Salute to the pilot who showed the presence of mind to avoid a big mishap, saving many lives at the cost of her own life.”
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
Imagine the thoughts running through the minds of the residents of Ghatkopar who witnessed the plane flying at a very low height and on the verge of crashing!
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Haribhai Patel, who lives near the area where the plane crashed, said, “The plane circled low over our locality and then crashed into the barricades around the construction site and a tree.”
Anant Kandhor, who lives barely a kilometre from the crash site said, “The plane went past my balcony, and was so close I thought it would crash into my building.”
Even when the plane was near densely inhabited buildings, it crashed on a seemingly vacant construction site. This could not just be a coincidence, and it is entirely possible that the pilot was looking to ensure that there would be minimum casualties.
Patel added that “It looked like the pilot was looking for an empty plot to land. [S]he may not have realised it was a construction site.”
The four people on board the plane who died in the crash have been identified as Captain PS Rajput, Co-pilot Maria Zuberi, Assistant Maintenance Engineer Surbhi and air technician Manish Panday. Additionally, a man on the Ghatkopar road also lost his life.
The decision to steer the plane to a relatively safe area before the crash is a testament to the presence of mind of the pilots as their plan potentially saved the lives of hundreds of people in the residential area. An official from the construction site said that the lives of about 30 workers who were working at the site were saved because it was lunchtime.
We applaud the bravery of the victims and hope that their souls rest in peace.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)