Neerja Bhanot, The Legendary Air Hostess Who Gave Her Life For The Passengers

Neerja Bhanot valiantly assisted passengers escape when hijackers took Pan Am Flight 73 hostage in September 1986, but she was killed while protecting three toddlers from a shower of bullets.

On the morning of Sept. 5, 1986, Neerja Bhanot was working as a senior flight attendant for Pan American World Airways when tragedy struck. Pan Am Flight 73 was hijacked by four armed Palestinian terrorists while on a routine stopover in Pakistan. Despite the fact that practically everyone was immobilized by dread, Neerja Bhanot wasted no time in attempting to calm things down.

Despite the fact that she was only 22, Bhanot’s fast thinking rescued the pilots and hundreds of others from a perilous 17-hour ordeal that took the lives of 20 people, including her own. She was shot to death while protecting three children from gunshots, and she was a hero to the end. This is her incredible tale.

Neerja Bhanot, her story

Bhanot was born in Chandigarh, India, on September 7, 1963, and relocated to Mumbai as a teenager. She had just started at St. Xavier’s College when she was discovered by a photographer on campus, and she began modeling for Paville and Vaporex.

Bhanot, who was raised according to local customs, agreed to an arranged marriage that her family had arranged. In March 1985, she married a man from the United Arab Emirates, but she soon realized that he was aggressive. She broke with convention and divorced him after only two months, deciding to pursue a career as a flight attendant.

She left her marriage because of domestic violence

Neerja Bhanot was chosen from 10,000 candidates to become a new air hostess for Pan American because of her taught composure and natural attractiveness. At the same time, the Palestinian terrorist group Abu Nadal grew increasingly hostile to Israel and its supporters, particularly the US, for backing the detention of Palestinian insurgents.

The organization initiated its criminal scheme to hijack Pan Am Flight 73, which they planned to reroute to Cyprus and then Israel to rescue Palestinian captives, only a year after Neerja Bhanot was hired by Pan Am.

Bhanot and the passengers were met by loud gunfire as the plane was preparing to takeoff from Karachi, Pakistan, just before dawn that fateful morning.

Her Valor During Pan Am Flight 73’s Hijacking

Terrorists in a van with wailing sirens and dressed as Airport security crossed the Karachi Airport tarmac at 6:00 a.m. Bhanot shouted the code for “hijacking” over the intercom as they boarded the plane, and flight attendant Sherene Pavan promptly entered it in.

This allowed airport officials to take note of the situation and keep the plane grounded while authorities were contacted, as well as giving the pilots a chance to flee. When one of the hijackers unlocked the cockpit door, he was surprised to find it was empty.

Viraf Doroga, the Pan Am director in Karachi, emerged on the tarmac and promised the terrorists a new pilot within the hour. The hijackers began targeting westerners when no pilot came.

They took 29-year-old American Rajesh Kumar to one of the plane’s doors, shot him in the head, and dumped his body on the tarmac in plain view of the authorities. They asked that crew members collect every passenger’s passport four hours later.

She was a woman of valor

Bhanot bravely hid any US passports and instructed her coworkers to do the same, throwing them in the garbage or flushing them down the toilet. She cared to her passengers by serving them sandwiches and drinks and keeping them calm, despite the fact that she said there were no Americans on board.

After 17 terrifying hours, the plane’s electricity was suddenly turned off. The shooters fired into the aisles with recklessness after failing to ignite their bomb belts.

Neerja Bhanot was shot dead while covering three youngsters as she attempted to open one of the emergency doors and assist people down the slide.

Bhanot, according to a survivor, wasn’t merely killed in the crossfire; she was executed on purpose. When one of the hijackers learned she was defending passengers, he grabbed Bhanot by the ponytail and shot her in the head. However, there is substantial disagreement over this narrative.

The memory of the Indian Air Hostess

A fifth terrorist was caught after the hijacking, and all five were prosecuted and charged in Pakistan. One of the hijackers was imprisoned in the United States, while the others were handed over to Palestinian authorities in 2008 and released.

Bhanot, who was two days shy of her 23rd birthday, was one of the 20 people killed that day. Furthermore, about 100 of the 360 passengers on board were hurt.

Bhanot was declared a posthumous hero and received India’s highest peacetime gallantry award. In 2004, the Indian Postal Service issued a stamp in her honor, and in 2016, the thriller Neerja was released to commemorate her bravery.

Her bravery brought new life to those on board the plane that day, and one of the youngsters she saved went on to become a pilot.

One thought on “Neerja Bhanot, The Legendary Air Hostess Who Gave Her Life For The Passengers

  • June 14, 2022 at 3:15 am

    Neerja Bhanot


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