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Pilot of Crashed Air India Express Flight Captain Deepak Sathe Was Academically Bright, Keen on Sports: Classmates

Deepak Vasant Sathe, the pilot of the ill-fated Air India Express flight.

Deepak Vasant Sathe, the pilot of the ill-fated Air India Express flight.

Captain Deepak Sathe, who was the pilot of the ill-fated Air India Express plane that crashed in Kerala, was academically bright and also took keen interest.

Captain Deepak Sathe, who was the pilot of the ill-fated Air India Express plane that crashed in Kerala, was academically bright and also took keen interest in sports, remembered his classmates here.

He was focussed on his career and determined to join the prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA), located at Khadakwasla near Pune in Maharashtra, some of his classmates from the Class 11 batch of St Vincent School here told PTI.

Sathe, 58, died along with 17 others after the plane crashed at Kerala's Kozhikode airport on Friday.

He had joined St Vincent School in Class 11 in 1977,said Brigadier Kevin Mendonca (retd), who was Sathe's classmate.

"Since his father was in the armed forces, he had already made up his mind to join the NDA. Those days, the qualification for joining the NDA was Class 11, and he appeared for the exam and cleared it," he said.

While Sathe joined the NDA after Class 11, Mendonca waited till Class 12, and later he and a couple of his other classmates joined the tri-services academy of the armed forces, he said.

"Sathe was enthusiastic, jovial, focused and determined. In NDA also, he was very good at academics and sports. The NDA's journal had mentioned him as the captain of golf and squash team," he added.

Mendonca said after passing out from the NDA, Sathe joined the Indian Air Force and he joined the Army. While Sathe took early retirement from the Indian Air Force to become a commercial pilot, Mendonca retired from the Army in 2017.

"We then lost touch with each other. A few months back, he somehow got my number and called me and we agreed to meet in Pune after the lockdown," he said.

Sanjeev Jawale, another classmate from the St Vincent batch, described Sathe as an intelligent person, who went along well with his friends.

"We were in tough in the initial days, but for the last 14 years, I was not in touch with him," said Jawale, who is a marketing consultant.

He said they are planning to hold a condolence meet after the lockdown. "We have requested all our classmates to send messages and their memories of Sathe. We will record all the messages and send them to his family," he said.

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