#WOTW: Neerja Bhanot

Neerja Bhanot was the chief flight attendant on Pan Am Flight 73, which was hijacked by terrorists on September 5th, 1986. She was shot while aiding passengers escape. Bhanot was born in Chandigarh, India and raised in Mumbai. She also was able to manage having a model career, while also being a flight attendant. On September 5th, 1986 terrorists boarded the plane and attempted to redirect the planes course to Cyprus. Their plan was to fly to Cyprus and wanted to free the Palestinian prisoners in Cyprus. Before, the plane could take off, Bhanot alerted the cockpit crew of the terrorists presence. The three-member cockpit crew which consisted of the pilot, co-pilot and the flight engineer were able to flee the aircraft. The plane was then Bhanot’s responsibility. Unfortunately 43 passengers were injured or killed during the hijacking. All the hijackers were arrested and sentenced to death in Pakistan, however their sentences were altered to life in prison. Among the lives that were lost, Bhanot lost her life at 22. Bhanot’s sacrifice is still remembered today. Posthumously, she became the youngest recipient of India’s highest peacetime award, the Ashok Chakra Award, she also received other accolades from the government of Pakistan and the United States. You can watch her biopic “Neerja”.

“For Parents: Never blame or scold a child for their first mistake after all family is the first school from where a child learns.”

The trailer for “Neerja” is attached below:

 

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