New Delhi, June 28: The husband of Captain Maria Zuberi – the deceased co-pilot of the ill-fated aircraft which crashed into an under-construction building in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar – has alleged that his wife was forced to fly the King Air C90 chartered plane in spite of bad weather conditions. Also Read - SRH vs KKR Dream11 Team Prediction VIVO IPL 2021: Captain, Vice-captain, Fantasy Playing Tips, Probable XIs For Today's Sunrisers Hyderabad vs Kolkata Knight Riders T20 Match 3 at MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai 7.30 PM IST April 11 Sunday
“The incident could have been averted. Maria had told me that the flight won’t be flown due to bad weather. The aviation company is responsible for this unfortunate incident,” said P Kuthariya, husband of Captain Maria. Also Read - Delhi Records 10,732 COVID Cases in Highest Ever Single-Day Spike
The chartered plane crashed in the Jagruti Nagar locality of the crowded Ghatkopar on Thursday afternoon. Five people were killed in the crash. The five included the two pilots – Captain PS Rajput and Captain Maria Zuberi, two aircraft maintenance engineers on board and a pedestrian. Also Read - Cooch Behar Firing 'Genocide', Says Mamata Banerjee, Accuses EC of 'Suppressing Facts'
Following the tragic incident, former civil aviation minister Praful Patel lauded Captain Maria, saying that she guided the aircraft into an open area and saved several lives at the cost of her own.
“Saddened to hear about the unfortunate incident at #ghatkopar as Charter plane crashes in an open area. Salute to the pilot who showed presence of mind to avoid a big mishap, saving many lives at the cost of her own life. #RIP to all the 5 Dead. My deepest condolences (sic),” he tweeted.
Earlier, a photo of a staff with a coconut had emerged, indicating that this was the plane’s first flight after repair work done on it.
An eye-witness narrated the account of the ghastly incident, recalling how he saw a man engulfed in flames, but could do nothing to save him.
“The explosions following the crash and flames leaping in the air were so huge that initially we could not understand what had happened,” said Prakash S Giri, who lives opposite the construction site where the 12-seater plane crashed.
“The toll could have been higher had the plane hit any of the high-rises around the spot,” he said.
“The pilot did not let this happen. I think the pilot purposefully manoeuvred the plane to this site to avoid casualties,” he said.
“There was a very loud explosion. Smoke and flames engulfed the area in the 50-metre radius, leaving us clueless as to what had happened,” Giri said.
“We were having lunch when we heard the first explosion. We immediately rushed out … saw a burning body near the crash spot. We tried to save the man but the flames had engulfed him completely so we found ourselves helpless,” he said, recounting the horror.