Mumbai,Maharashtra : 29 Years Pilot killed and another was injured in a road accident occurred in Andheri on Apr 5th,2015

05:20 AM

05 April 2015

A young pilot with Jet Airways was killed early on Sunday after his cab slammed into a divider before Andheri flyover on the Western Express Highway.

Captain Soumik Chatterjee, 29, who lived in Andheri East, was on the way to the airport in the companyprovided cab around 5.20 am when the crash took place. He was in the backseat, but the impact was so severe that his head was smashed.

Cab driver Kamlesh Kahar, who escaped with minor injuries, said he was not speeding and blamed another car for the accident, claiming it suddenly overtook from the left, forcing him to steer towards the divider.

But the Andheri police, who have arrested Kahar, said they were trying to determine if he was driving under the influence or whether he was too fatigued to work. Kahar has been booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

A Jet Airways pilot, who knew Soumik well, claimed that the drivers contracted to transport flight crew to and from the airport were overworked, which was affecting their ability to drive safely. "Recently, one contracted cab struck a woman crossing a road in Andheri," the pilot, who didn't want to be identified, said.

Mirror could not independently verify the claim with the police. Another Jet Airways pilot claimed that contracted drivers often complained about putting in double shifts. Soumik's father is a retired Indian Air Force officer. Colleagues and friends described Soumik, who studied in Mahim's Bombay Scottish School, as a "hard-working and ambitious" man. The Chatterjee family, originally from Kolkata, were planning his marriage this year.

The 29-year-old pilot had to report for a 6.15 am domestic flight on Sunday. Kahar, who drove a white Swift Dzire, picked him up from his residence near Pump House, Andheri East.

Kahar, who has been ferrying Jet Airways staff for three years, told the police that an Innova aggressively overtook his cab just before Andheri flyover and he swerved to the right to prevent a collision. But in the process, he failed to see the divider ahead. Apassing motorist alerted the police about the crash and rushed Soumik, who was bleeding severely, to Cooper Hospital, where the latter was declared brought dead. Doctors said Soumik's head was smashed against a "metallic object" that killed him instantly.

Kahar sustained minor injuries to his hands and legs. His blood was drawn by authorities to test for alcohol. "We are trying to ascertain if he was drunk or drowsy because of fatigue," said investigating officer Vilas Kadam.

Soumik's parents were in Kolkata when the accident took place. They returned to Mumbai around 2.45 pm. A family friend said the parents were initially not told that Soumik, their only child, had died. They were told that he was critical.

Soumik's mother collapsed when the news was finally broken to them. Jet Airways said the airline was offering all possible support to the family. It added that the appointed cab operator's performance was reviewed regularly.

"The safety of staff is of paramount importance to Jet Airways. The airline has comprehensive guidelines in place for its fleet operators... The performance of fleet operators is closely monitored and regular feedback is taken from crew members. Following a comprehensive review, a new fleet operator was appointed in January," a spokesperson said.

Mumbai,Maharashtra

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