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Bengaluru-based doctor, Pan Am hijack survivor recalls Neerja's courage

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Bengaluru, Feb 18: It has been almost 30 years when ill-fated Pan Am-73 flight, carrying 400 people on-board, was hijacked on the runway of Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, Pakistan in Sept, 1986.

The flight was hijacked by four heavily-armed terrorists, who were dressed as airport security guards, and entered the aircraft while firing shots from an automatic weapon and seized control of the plane. [Who is Neerja Bhanot]

Then, the flight's senior air-hostess, 23-year-old Neerja Bhanot took the charge of saving hundreds of lives on her shoulders and as a responsible person, she guided the pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer to get off the plane, so that it could not take off.

One of the hundreds of survivors, Bengaluru-based Dr Kishore Murthy recalled the memories of horrific incident, in front of a leading newspaper.

While talking to the daily, Dr Murthy, who is now 61-year-old, said that at the time when plane was hijacked, he was 31-year-old and he still vividly remembers that he was sitting in the sixth row from front.

The flight was on its way from Mumbai to New York via Karachi and Frankfurt, when Dr Murthy was heading to New York to present a paper on 'Rheumatic heart disease and hypertension among pediatric patients aged below eight'.

He also revealed that among Indian passengers, 13 were from Karnataka, out of whom two died and four were injured.

"She was very caring towards all the passengers, especially the elderly and children. I didn't see her lose her cool for even a moment. She was very efficient during the crisis", Dr Murthy was quoted as saying.

Dr Murthy is presently working as a management expert with St John's Hospital in Bengaluru.

Dr Murthy's wife, Dr Veena Bharathi, has also worked closely with Neerja's family to document her life, since 1996.

Dr Veena said that Neerja, whose birthday was on Sept 7, had made plans for a family-get-together on her birthday, but she had no idea that her family would be mourning her untimely death on that day.

OneIndia News

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