A day after a Beechcraft King C90 aircraft crashed in Ghatkopar, the police on Friday handed over the bodies of the four personnel on board to their families. Pilot Pardeep S Rajput, 49, was cremated at Ghatkopar in Mumbai. “We will take his ashes back,” said his cousin P S Pandori. “It was destiny. Who can we blame? I believe there must be parameters to judge whether a plane can be flown or not. Air traffic control must have given clearance after careful scrutiny. But if there was negligence, it must be inquired into,” added Pandori, who flew in from Goa on Thursday night.
Rajput is survived by his wife Gurmeet, daughter Preet and son Chaand Singh, who arrived in Mumbai on Thursday night. Preet lives in Raipur with her husband, while Chaand studies in Class XI in New Delhi. On Thursday afternoon, it was Chaand who first spotted a news alert on his cellphone about a chartered plane crashing in Ghatkopar. “I started calling my father’s number. We could not reach him. Then I tried UY Aviation. Anil Chauhan (head of operations) told me that his plane had crashed. We did not know that he had died,” he said. According to Rajput’s wife, they repeatedly tried his cellphone.
Rajput had more than 5,000 hours of flying experience and had joined UY Aviation two to three months ago. “He was a seasoned pilot. He had flown several politicians. Whenever he flew to Goa, we would meet,” Pandori said. Rajput, his family said, was passionate about flying. Chaand said they left Delhi by Thursday evening after news reports suggested that the pilot had died in the crash. According to forensic experts, Rajput’s body was charred and mutilated. “We identified him through his kada and chain,” wife Gurmeet said. On Friday evening, Rajput’s body was taken to a crematorium in Ghatkopar for the final rites.
The body of Assistant Maintenance Engineer Surabhi Gupta, 32, was flown to Delhi from where it would be taken to Haryana. She last spoke to her husband Brijesh Gupta on Thursday at 10 am from the Juhu airport strip. “She said the crew is ready and they would take off soon,” he said.
The couple married two years ago and resided in a Jogeshwari flat. On Thursday morning, Brijesh, a pilot, had a video call with Surabhi at 8 am, when she was having breakfast. They spoke again two hours later. Brijesh was flying to Chennai. “When I reached Chennai, a colleague first told me about the crash,” he said.
Surabhi’s parents, who love in Delhi, arrived in Mumbai on Thursday night. She was identified by her platinum earrings. Air technician Manish Pandey was identified by his father on Friday. Police officials said his face was intact. His body was taken to Vasai for final rites.