Captain Dipak Vasant Sathe, pilot of the Air India Express flight (AXB1344, B737), was among 18 who died when the aircraft skidded off the runway at Kerala's Kozhikode International Airport on August 7.
A former test pilot with the Indian Air Force (IAF), Captain DV Sathe was an aerial operator and had flown the Airbus 310 for Air India before moving to Air India Express to fly a Boeing 737.
Captain Sathe was also the recipient of a Sword of Honour at the Air Force Academy (AFA) in 1981. An alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA) in Pune, Captain Sathe ranked first in the 58th course of Pune NDA from Juliet Squadron.
As many as 18 people, including Captain Sathe and the co-pilot, have been confirmed dead by authorities. There were as many as 190 passengers onboard, including 174 adults and 10 infants apart from four cabin crew members and two pilots.
Survivors of deadly plane crash on Friday said that the aircraft's captain, who was killed, helped save their lives as he averted a fire after the accident.
"It was raining heavily. The pilot had given a warning before landing saying the weather was really bad. He tried for safe landing twice but lost control. The aircraft shot off the runway and skidded off and it broke into two pieces. It was a miraculous escape for many," V Ibrahim, one of the passengers who survived said.
Several unconfirmed reports suggest that Captain Sathe switched off the engine before the crash, in an attempt to save lives of the passengers and the cabin crew. Preliminary inputs also show that the fuselage broke into two after the aircraft overshot the runway during its second attempt to land at the Kerala's 'tabletop' airport.
As per Air India Express, the flight was returning to the Kozhikode airport from Dubai as part of the 'Vande Bharat' initiative.