Delhi

Co-pilot had complained about ageing fleet

: Their lives came crashing down as the family of 38-year-old Captain Rajesh Shivrain received the news of his demise. But beyond grief, the circumstance of his death has left them agitated with a bunch of questions which they know will remain unanswered.

“We were told they had to literally extract his hand from the plane’s yoke. Till the end he tried to steer clear of inhabited areas and keep control,” said the brother-in-law of Mr. Shivrain. A commercial pilot with a leading private airliner, he complained about the neglect of the government in maintaining a robust fleet of aircraft.

A batch-mate of Mr. Shivrain, who rushed to his residence in Dwarka Sector 4 as soon as the report of the crash was confirmed, said that he did not have much hope from the inquiry that has been ordered. “The fleet that we have is more than two decades old. Just a few weeks ago, Rajesh and I were discussing how it takes several years for a single order of fresh planes to actually roll out in our country. In fact, a thorough probe should also go into the maintenance of these ailing fleet,” he said.

Youngest among three siblings, Mr. Shivrain hailed from Bhiwani. He joined Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in 2002 and was the only SSB officer working in the Border Security Force air wing. Mr. Shivrain joined the BSF air wing as a pilot in 2009 and was soon to be inducted permanently in this special unit of the Union Home Ministry. During the crash, he was flying the plane with his batch-mate Bhatt. Coincidentally both were born in 1977.

At the corner of the drawing room of her apartment Mr. Shivrain’s wife, Seema remained quiet. Her sister Jyoti Garewal looked at her and said, “She has not cried till now and has been sitting there for a long time. I am worried her back ache problem will worsen.” When asked about their children, Ms. Garewal said, “They do not know yet. As soon as this happened, I took them to my home in Hisar. They will be there for a few days now.”

She said that the children, 10-year-old Pradyuman and 4-year-old Pari were in school when their father was flying the BSF sortie to Ranchi carrying a team of six technicians and two others. “He left home at around 7:30 am and we knew he was going to Ranchi. But, he had to return the same day for Pari’s school function in the evening.”

Mr. Shivrain’s neighbour Sushil Sharma called him a “fitness freak”. “I used to meet him at the DDA Sports Complex and he would hardly miss any day. He has always won a lot of sports awards, especially in badminton,” he said.



He left home around 7:30 am and we knew he was going to Ranchi. But, he had to return the same day for his daughter’s school function in the eveningJyoti Garewal,Shivrain’s sister-in-law





He was to return from Ranchi the same day so he could attend his daughter’s school function




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Printable version | Jun 8, 2021 12:31:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/copilot-had-complained-about-ageing-fleet/article8019941.ece

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