On Thursday afternoon, a chartered plane crashed in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar area killing at least five people. Incredibly, the plane crashed into a construction site and not into any of the buildings, considering that Ghatkopar is a heavily populated residential area.
According to a report from News18, the King Air C90 plane crashed into an under-construction building at the Old Malik Estate near Ghatkopar telephone exchange. The plane, a Beechcraft King Air C 90 turboprop, was taken out for its first test flight after it last flew ten years ago in 2008.
Captain P.S. Rajput, Co-pilot Maria Zuberi, Assistant Maintenance Engineer Surbhi and air technician Manish Panday were the four persons onboard the plane who lost their lives. The crash also claimed the life of an unknown person on the ground. However, the lives of the 30 workers who were employed at the construction site were saved as it was lunchtime.
The decision of the pilots to steer the plane to a relatively safe area before the crash is an indication of their presence of mind. Former Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, sent out a tweet respecting the pilot who lost her life, saying, “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.”
It was indeed a close shave for the residents who lived in and around the construction site. Speaking to the Hindustan Times, Haribhai Patel said, “The plane circled low over our locality and then crashed into the barricades around the construction site and a tree.” Another resident Anand said that the plane went past his balcony, and at one point was so close that he thought it would crash into his building.