Killed pilot was unhappy with plane: sister (Lead)

October 30th, 2008 - 4:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Panchkula (Haryana), Oct 30 (IANS) The sister of one of the pilots who died Wednesday in a plane crash in Punjab said Thursday that her brother had told her the plane was in poor condition and could crash any day. Dalip Kataria and Manjit Singh Khokhar died Wednesday when a six-seater aircraft of the Punjab government crashed while landing at the Sahnewal Airport near Ludhiana town in Punjab.

“My brother was not at all satisfied with the condition of the plane. He said that the condition of the plane was so bad that it could crash any day. He was not even paid his salary for the last month,” said Narender Kaur, sister of Khokhar.

Khokhar had worked as a pilot in the US for 18 years before coming back to India last year.

Khokhar had joined the Punjab government as a pilot just a few months ago. Family members and friends of the Khokhar family were in shock with the sudden news of his demise.

“He had returned to Panchkula from Mumbai only Tuesday afternoon. He called all his friends in the evening to give them Diwali wishes. He also talked to our father Wednesday morning,” Kaur said.

Khokhar’s father Buta Singh lives in Ratia village near Hisar town in Haryana. Khokhar’s body has been taken to Ratia for cremation later Thursday.

Khokhar is survived by two teenage daughters who live with their mother in Chandigarh, around 10 km from here.

He was divorced and lived in Panchkula town with his sister.

“My father called me Tuesday and promised to take us out for dinner once he returned to Chandigarh. He advised me to concentrate on my studies,” said Niharika, Khokhar’s elder daughter.

The state government Wednesday announced a grant of Rs.1 million each for the families of the pilots killed in the crash and said that state honour will be given to them during their funeral.

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