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Wing Commander Deepak Sathe cremated; Maha govt accords state funeral

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Mumbai, Aug 11: Wing Commander Deepak Sathe (Retd), pilot-in-command of the Air India Express plane that crashed in Kerala last week, was cremated here on Tuesday with state honours.

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Hundreds of mourners lined up the road as the funeral procession started from his residence in Chandivli and concluded at Vikhroli's Tagorenagar crematorium, where the last rites were performed.

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Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Government decided to accord a state funeral to the pilot, and said his life shall inspire young pilots. The flight from Dubai with 190 people, including a six-member crew, overshot the tabletop runway during landing at the Kozhikode airport in heavy rain on Friday, killing 18 people, including both the pilots.

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    Sathe's body was flown here on Sunday and was kept at the Air India facility near Terminal 2 of the Chhatrapati Shivaji international airport for some time before being taken to Bhabha Hospital in Bandra.

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    On Tuesday morning, the body was brought from the hospital to the family home in Chandivli. Residents in the housing complex paid tributes to the pilot. Some of them were seen saluting him from their balconies. The pilot's father, Colonel Vasant Sathe (Retd), 87 and mother Neela, 83, were present at the Chandivli residence. They reside in Nagpur and reached Mumbai on Monday.

    The pilot's US-based elder son Shantanu also reached Mumbai on Monday for the last rites. He, along with his mother Sushma and younger brother Dhananjay, were in tears as the last rites were performed at the crematorium shortly after noon. A wreath was placed on behalf of the Indian Air Force, where Sathe was a test pilot before joining Air India. Pilots from different airlines, cabin crew and others in the aviation sector participated in the final journey.

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