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Images: They died in line of duty

Last updated on: May 23, 2010 00:08 IST

'Can't believe Sujata is no more'



The family members of Sujata Surveshi, a senior crew member with Air India, who died in the tragic air crash near Mangalore on Saturday morning, still cannot believe that she is no more.

"I can't believe that she left us. We were told that she is no more. Unless and until we see her body, we will not believe anybody's version," said Kamal Surveshi, cousin brother of Sujata.

Kamal, who heard about the crash when he was in Karjat in neighbouring Raigad district, rushed to the airport to inquire if Sujata was flying in the same flight which met with an accident.

"Unfortunately, she was flying in the same flight," he said.

She had been working as crewmember for over three years, Kamal said.

Sujata, a resident of Mhada colony in suburban Versova, is survived by three brothers, mother and father.

Her two brothers and father had flown to Mangalore soon after the incident, he said.

Image: A photograph of air hostess Sujata Surveshi
Photographs: Sahil Salvi

Her first toy was a plane, not a Barbie

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She realised her dream of becoming an airhostess but Tejal Kamulkar could live it just for four months.

Barely a fortnight after she celebrated her 24th birthday, Tejal perished in the real version of her favourite toy that gave her dream the wings -- an aeroplane.

"She would never play with Barbie dolls. Her first toy was an aeroplane and we both used to play with it," says Ankita Pokhre, a cousin of Tejal, who died in the tragic air crash near Mangalore.

She had joined Air India four months ago and was flying the Dubai-Mangalore IX-892 flight ever since.

Tejal's father Anil was informed about his daughter's death by Air India on Saturday morning. "He decided not to not break the news to Tejal's mother Bharti and brother Gaurav and snapped the cable connection before rushing to the Mumbai airport," Ankita said.

Several close relatives and neighbours discreetly guarded their house at Dombivili in neighbouring Thane district turning away the media.

Ankita, who too is undergoing training to become an airhostess, remembers Tejal as a hardworking and jovial girl, who nurtured the dream of becoming an airhostess since childhood.

After completing her degree in commerce, Tejal did a course with the International Air Transport Association and joined Air India this February.

Tejal's friend Pradnya S remembers her as someone who was very passionate about her job.

"Everytime we spoke, she went on and on about her job and her on-flight experiences. The last time we met was on May five when we celebrated Tejal's 24th birthday. I can't believe she is no longer with us," Pradnya said.

Image: The Versova, Andheri, residence of Sujatha Surveshi
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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'He was passionate about his work'

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The family members of H S Ahluwalia, co-pilot of Air India Express aircraft, who died in the disastrous accident, are in utter shock and disbelief.

The Ahluwalias refused to talk to media saying it was personal matter and the family is in deep grief.

Ahluwalia, who visited his family members about 15 days ago, had been serving as co-pilot for last 15 years. It was two years ago he left Jet Airways to join Air India Express, sources close to his family said.

The 41-year-old bachelor aviator was passionate about his work. He chose to chart his own course than joining family business of auto parts manufacturing, they said.

His elder brother is understood to have left for Mangalore to bring his brother's body.

"He has gone there to complete the legal formalities to take custody of his brother's body," they said.    

"He was extremely brilliant and carefree person," one of Ahluwalia's neighbours said.

Ahluwalia is survived by his mother Kulwant Kaur, two brothers and a sister. His father Kuldeep passed away three years ago.

Image: The residence J B Nagar, Andheri, residence of H S Ahluwalia
Photographs: Sahil Salvi
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