Ghatkopar plane crash: Co-pilot Marya Zuberi laid to rest; husband demands probe

Jun 30, 2018, 08:42 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty and Suyash Karangutkar

Co-pilot Marya Zuberi was buried at the Shia Kabristan in Govandi's Rafi Nagar on Friday evening, while aircraft maintenance engineer Surabhi Gupta will be taken back to her native place for the last rites

Ghatkopar plane crash: Co-pilot Marya Zuberi laid to rest; husband demands probe
Marya (inset) is laid to rest in Govandi

A day after the plane crash at Ghatkopar, family members have now begun laying all five victims to rest, after identifying them with the help of their personal effects and teeth. On the other hand, their doubts and questions are yet to be put to rest, so they have now raised demands for a proper investigation of the mishap. Co-pilot Marya Zuberi was buried at the Shia Kabristan in Govandi's Rafi Nagar on Friday evening, while aircraft maintenance engineer Surabhi Gupta will be taken back to her native place for the last rites.

All five bodies were badly charred, so their DNA samples had been sent to the Kalina forensic laboratory for identification. However, the victims' kin did not want to wait too long, so they decided to go ahead with the last rites. Captain Pradip Rajput was identified by his bracelet, Gupta by her earrings, and Zuberi with the help of her engagement ring. Junior flight technician Manish Pandey's face was partially recognisable. Dr Hemlata Pandey, forensic odontologist from KEM hospital, reconfirmed the identity with the help of photographs where their teeth are visible. "In such cases, when everything turns to ashes, teeth remain intact," said Dr Pandey.

Prabhat and daughter Charvi. Pics/Suresh Karkera
Prabhat and daughter Charvi. Pics/Suresh Karkera

'We want answers'
As Marya's husband and male family members lowered her body into the ground, her daughter Charvi as she wept outside the cemetery. Upon returning to their residence at Mira Road, her husband Prabhat Kathuriya told mid-day, "We are going to file an FIR." In a press statement titled 'Who Killed Marya?', Prabhat, a lawyer, said: "She left the house assuring me that she would return soon, as the weather conditions were clearly not right for a test flight of a small plane. She was sure that the commission to undertake such a flight would not be given."

We know that the aircraft was well beyond its prime. We know it was more than 20 years old. We know it had already had an accident in 2009 and that the UP government chose to sell it rather than spend on its repairs. Considering all the above stated facts we, the family of Marya Zuberi, want answers. We want to know who exactly was at fault and who will bear the responsibility?"

He told this paper, "I am startled that the police haven't enquired about the crew's cell phones. A colleague told me that when she tried Marya's number at 2.30 pm (after the crash), it was ringing, but there was no response. That could reveal something." First pilot in family The family will remember Marya as a trailblazer. She was the first among them to become a pilot, after battling the stigma and restrictions often imposed on women in conservative society. "She was our brave child," said uncle Gauhar Raza.

Also Read: Ghatkopar plane crash: Neighbours of Mira Road co-pilot unable to believe she is no more

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