A pall of gloom descended across Chandivali where late Wing Commander Deepak V Sathe (58) lived. The former Indian Air Force pilot was killed after the Air India Express flight from Dubai to Kozhikode crash landed at Kozhikode airport on Friday. The Maharashtra government accorded a state funeral for Captain Sathe. The last rites were performed in presence of Sathe's family at Vikhroli.
The funeral procession started from his residence in Chandivali, with hundreds of people lining up to pay their final respects. Sathe's wife and sons bid a tearful goodbye to him. However, his parents, Col. Vasant Sathe (retd), 87 and mother Neela, 83, who reached the city from Nagpur on Monday, stayed back home.
Sathe's mortal remains were brought on Sunday by his wife Sushma and son Dhananjay, while the family awaited the elder son, Shantanu's arrival from the US. On Tuesday, the number of people allowed to attend the last rites was restricted due to the pandemic. Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar, paid floral tributes at his Chandivali residence before the final procession began.
A statement issued by the family read: "Deepak Sathe was a loving husband and caring father. We are deeply pained by his tragic demise. He was a family man and loved to spend time with family and friends whenever possible. He was careful and meticulous in his ways, and always pursued excellence. He infused in us a love for sport and the outdoors, the inquisitiveness to try novel experiences and an enthusiasm to explore new lands and varied cuisine. He will remain in our hearts forever."
On Tuesday morning, the official Twitter handle of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's office had posted, "The state has decided to accord a state funeral to the late Wing Commander (Retd) Captain D V Sathe. His life has been one that shall inspire many more young pilots to achieve the Sword of Honour and command over the skies."
Sathe had also served at the Indian Air Force (IAF) flight testing establishment. He had survived an air crash in the early 1990s when he was in the Air Force and was hospitalised for six months, where Sathe had suffered multiple injuries on his skull in that incident.
The Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 people onboard, including a six-member crew, overshot the runway during landing at the Kozhikode airport amid heavy rain on Friday, killing 18 people, including both the pilots. After the post-mortem procedure, Sathe's body was flown to Mumbai on Sunday and was taken to Bhabha Hospital in Bandra.