“I saw Neerja Die”

(Manasa Ks) The upcoming movie Neerja is a biopic of a brave air hostess Neerja Bannaot, an eye witness of the death incident of Neerja was confessing how she was shot death while saving other lives. “I saw her getting shot. She was shot in the head, point blank. Sitting in the sixth row from the front, I saw her during her last moments,” said Dr. Kishor Murthy and his wife Dr. Veena Bharathi were present and were also saved by Neerja.

The pan AM flight 73 on its way from Mumbai to New York via Karachi was hijacked on September 5th 1986. Terrorists were disguised as the airport staff and entered the flight in Karachi. The panic started when they revealed their identity and short 20 people among 380.

Few people who survived the attack helped the director to understand the situation at the moment to show the horrific scene in more intense way. “Neerja was absolutely calm and efficient through the horrific episode. She was the first one to alert the captain, the co-pilot and first officers about a possible hijack and it was on her instruction they made their way out from the cockpit, ensuring that the plane could not take off. She was a true global citizen and did not discriminate between Indians and Americans. I remember she and another flight attendant helped us out of the exit door when one of the terrorists was targeting us. There was constant firing of rounds. The auxiliary power unit had failed and the terrorists feared a commando attack. Hence, they started firing indiscriminately,” recollected Dr. Murthy.

According to a source she died just before her 24th birthday where her parents had to collect her coffin on that day.

(Manasa ks is an intern at siasat.com)