Classmates build visitors' lounge to honour brave pilots

Classmates of an Indian Air Force pilot killed during crash of the country's first multi-purpose civil aircraft and a flight cadet who died in an air crash at the Air Force Academy, have built a visitors' lounge at their alma mater Sainik School, Satara to pay tributes to them.

The lounge, built at a cost of Rs 10.50 lakh which was contributed by them, was handed over to the school at a recent get together of the 1990 batch.

Principal Group Captain S Majumder, who attended the ceremony in presence of the former students' parents and teachers, thanked the class of 1990 for their gesture towards Wing Commander Dipesh Shah and Flight Cadet Prasad Shendge.

Shah was killed when India's first multi-purpose civil aircraft Saras which he was flying crashed in the outskirts of Bengaluru in March, 2009. Shah's classmate Dipak Thorat recalled that villagers from Seshagiri village near the crash site, had been all praises for the pilots for their presence of mind in skirting three petrol pumps and hundreds of houses in the vicinity before the crash.

Shendge, a Flight Cadet, who was at the Air Force Academy, Dundigul near Hyderabad, was killed when his aircraft Kiran crashed near Bidar in 1994. Former teachers of Shah and Shendge recalled the pilots as dedicated and sincere students who also excelled in extra-curricular activities like swimming, horse riding and boxing.

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