Abhijit Dev Kumar
Hyderabad: Ten minutes made the difference between life and death for Habib, a software professional, and his wife Zeenath, who lived in the building into which the aircraft crashed here on Wednesday.
Mr. Habib had stepped out to get his clothes ironed, after Ms. Zeenath had gone to her sister's house in the neighbourhood, when the two-seater aircraft crashed next to their home.
Both rushed back but could not find each other. Wailing, Ms. Zeenath tried to call him on the mobile phone, but Mr. Habib did not hear the ringing in the melee. She began screaming at the police personnel for not helping her find her husband, as people tried to calm her. After an hour she fell unconscious, but came around to find her husband standing beside her.
“I pray to the almighty to keep everyone safe. I pray for my neighbour and her son who are injured,” a relieved Ms. Zeenath repeated incessantly.
P. Krishnaiah, who lives in a house in front of the building into which the aircraft crashed, heard a loud sound and rushed out seconds later.
“The rusty smell of fuel coupled with the deafening noise shook me up. I didn't realise that it was a plane crash right in front of my house.”
Before he could gather his wits, he saw his neighbours, scores of them, drenched in a green liquid rushing out of their homes screaming.
“They were trying to jump from the second floor. We shouted back asking them to hop on to the adjacent building which was just a metre away.” And this saved the mother and son into whose home the plane crashed.
Under the impact of the crash, the water tank on the top floor gave way and water began to leak, mixing with fuel, possibly damping the effect of the ignition.
Corrections and Clarifications
The caption of a combo AFP photograph that went with a report "Narrow escape for scores of residents" - (March 4, 2010) called the Indian Naval Aerobatic Team as "Surya Kiran". The Indian Navy's aerobatic team is called "Sagar Pawan". "Surya Kiran" is the name of the aerobatic team of the Indian Air Force (IAF). There is a third one, "Sarang" , which is the helicopter formation display team of the IAF.