Wing Commander Deepak Vasant Sathe, one of the two pilots of the ill-fated Air India Express plane en route from Dubai to Kerala had an illustrious career, reported the website Defence Aviation Post.
Sathe was a decorated Indian Air Force pilot having had numerous awards. He was described as very experienced in flying Boeing 737 planes.
He was commissioned into the Indian Air Force in 1981 after winning the President’s Gold Medal in the 58 NDA President Gold Medal, according reports. He also completed his first training in the 127th Course of the Indian Air Force with the Sword of Honor.
Meanwhile, his co pilot Captain Akhilesh Kumar had just been married last year.
The ill-fated flight was part of the Vande Bharat programme that has been fetching Indians from abroad amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As of this posting, the death toll has climbed to 17 and more than 120 sustained minor to serious injuries.
The Air India Express flight IX 1344 that overshot the runway of the Kozhikode International Airport (Calicut) amid heavy rainfall.
The plane departed Dubai at 2:14 p.m., Friday, according to the website FlightAware.com. Local authorities said the aircraft was carrying 191 passengers and crew.
Flightradar24 shows the plane appears to have attempted to land twice at the airport. Survivors told local news that the aircraft went up and down many times before landing and the disaster occurred after the plane had clearly touched the runway.