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Families mourn death of co-pilot, air hostess

Mumbai, May 23 (Calcutta Tube) The bodies of co-pilot H.S. Ahluwalia and air hostess Tejal Kamulkar of the Air India Express aircraft, which crashed at Mangalore airport Saturday, were brought here late Sunday evening.

Grief-stricken families of the two crew members were present at the airport to receive the bodies.

A crowd of more than 200 people had gathered near Kamulkar’s residence in Dombivali town of Thane district. Amongst the crowd were friends, relatives and neighbours of the air hostess.

‘With the news of Tejal’s death appearing in newspapers today (Sunday), we all knew of the tragedy and have come here to support the family,’ said Kamulkar’s neighbour.

While Tejal’s mother Bharti was crying constantly, her brother Gaurav, 22, a final year engineering student was distraught with agony. ‘I don’t know what to do without her,’ was all he could say in between sobs.

But he steeled himself and went for Tejal’s cremation so that he could get a last glimpse of his elder sister.

Childhood friend and neighbour, Pradnya Lele said Tejal had become an example for the neighbourhood girls when she was recruited as air hostess in Air India.

‘Tejal was proud of the fact that she fulfilled her dream of becoming an air hostess. In this neighbourhood where people hardly fly, becoming an air hostess was talked about highly,’ said Lele.

There were similar scenes at 41-year-old Ahluwalia’s residence in suburban Andheri. Ahluwalia was serving as a co-pilot for 15 years.

‘I have flown with Ahluwalia on a few occasions and his loss will be felt in the entire pilot fraternity,’ Girish Kaushik, a senior Jet Airways pilot, told mediapersons here.

Air hostess Sujata Survase, who was also killed in the crash, was also from Andheri. Her body has not yet been brought here.

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