Every individual is born to die but what we do with our lives while alive matters after we are gone to the great beyond.
There are several stories of brave men and women in the Aviation industry who have done great things worthy of emulation even though the world hardly celebrates them.
On the 5th Sept., 1986, four armed terrorist hijacked a Pan Am flight 73 en- route U.S.A. from Mumbai at Karachi airport, Pakistan, the aircraft had 380 passengers and 13 crew members on board amongst whom was Neerja Bhanot, who was the head Purser.
The terrorist were part of the Abu Nidal organisation, their sole aim was to kill every American on board. There were 44 American citizens in the plane.
The terrorist ordered Bhanot to collect and deliver passports of every American citizen on board but rather than deliver them after collecting, she hid them safely where the terrorist couldn’t locate them. They were not able to identify their targets in the aircraft.
After 17 harrowing hours, the terrorists opened fire, setting off explosives; Bhanot however helped many of the passengers to escape while every other crew member ran for safety. Bhanot died while ensuring that each and every passenger is rescued alive. While the operation lasted, two American citizens lost their lives.
For the bravery, Bhanot has been given several posthumous awards.
When next you’re in an aircraft flying, say a word of prayer for Neerja Bhanot and her type who died in the line of duty while keeping others alive.