In a horrific accident, a Boeing 737 en route from Dubai, skidded off the runway and broke in two at Calicut airport upon landing. It was carrying 174 onboard including 10 infants and 6 crew. 16 people including the 2 experienced pilots died in the accident.
Among the deceased, captain Deepak Sathe was the former IAF fighter pilot who belonged to the 58th Course of the National Defence Academy, Kharakvasla, where he was a gold medalist, Air Force sources said.
Thereafter, he moved to the Air Force Academy, Dundigal, and was part of the 127th Pilot’s Course, where he was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour’ for topping the course.
Wing Commander Sathe had also served as a test pilot during his stint with the Air Force. He was commissioned in June 1981 and retired in 2003.
He had also served with No.17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows, which has recently been recommissioned with the IAF’s latest acquisition, the Rafale fighter jet.