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Ghatkopar Plane Crash: Lunch break saves 30 workers, victims bodies charred beyond recognition

Around 4 pm, relatives and family members of the five people who died in Thursday's plane crash at Ghatkopar started gathering at Rajawadi Hospital to identify their dear ones. But the bodies were burned beyond recognition.


While Delhi-based pilot Pradeep Rajput's body was identified by his pendant and gold bangle, co-pilot Maria Kathuria's sample will be given for DNA testing after her parents reach Mumbai. The other three bodies, of engineer Surabhi Gupta, technician Manish Pandey and a pedestrian, remained unidentified.
Maria's husband Prabhat Kathuria said, "I spoke to her earlier in the day and she told me she would not be flying for the test drive because of the bad weather. I messaged her around 1 pm but did not get a reply for two hours. None of the aviation firm's officials informed us. We got to know about the incident through the news."
Prabhat said his wife was a regular co-pilot. Her body could not be identified with the help of jewellery or any other such objects. Her parents were to arrive in Mumbai by evening for DNA sample testing. Maria had joined the firm one month ago, with an experience of around 900 hours of flying.
Pilot Rajput's son and wife, who reside in Delhi, came to Mumbai on Thursday night. Kulvinder Singh, his brother-in-law, said, "Rajput was trying to say no to the firm to fly this plane. It was already in a damaged condition. Plus there was the bad weather. He had been trying for a few days to opt out of the test flight. He had 20 years of flying experience."
Captain Sai Vinod of UY Aviation said they wouldn't like to comment on what the family members have said as they are under emotional stress. But it was very much there and everything was planned.
The pedestrian has been identified as Govind Dube, a Kalwa resident.
— Illustration – Gajanan Nirphale


Pilot Pradeep Rajput’s son and wife, who reside in Delhi, came to Mumbai on Thursday night.  
While Delhi-based pilot Pradeep Rajput’s body was identified by the pendant of his chain and gold bangle, co-pilot Maria Kathuria’s sample will be given for DNA testing after her parents reach Mumbai.
Around 30 labourers who have been working on the under-construction building where the plane crashed were away on a lunch break and were therefore saved by the bell.  
Lavkush Kumar, 21, and Naresh Nisad, 24, were the only ones working at the site when the plane crashed. They sustained minor injuries. A pedestrian was also injured. 
Naresh, whose face got minor burns, said, ‘I saw the airplane coming my way. I jumped off the net I was standing on. I had a lucky escape. Because of the fire, my face got burned.’
August 11, 2003
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Mother Teresa