Captain Swati Raval, commander of the Air India Boeing 777, garnered a big round of applause from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several other ministers for airlifting 263 Indians stranded in Rome and bringing them back to Delhi amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. Swati Raval is the first woman pilot to operate a rescue flight.
Among the 263 Indians, most were students. The Boeing 777 led by Captain Swati Raval and Captain Raja Chauhan got the people back to India from Rome on March 22. Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in a tweet, shared pictures of Captain Swati Raval and the evacuated Indians on the flight with an encouraging message.
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The crew of @airindiain Boeing 777 led by Capt Swati Raval & Capt Raja Chauhan responded to the call of duty & displayed exemplary determination by airlifting 263 Indians, mostly students, stranded in Rome,” Hardeep Singh Puri said in his tweet.
Praising the Air India crew, PM Modi said in his tweet, “Extremely proud of this team of @airindiain, which has shown utmost courage and risen to the call of humanity. Their outstanding efforts are admired by several people across India. #IndiaFightsCorona.”
Read his tweet:
Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan also lauded the Air India team on Twitter. “Salute Capt. Swati Raval, Capt. Raja Chauhan and the crew of @airindiain, for keeping the call of duty above all else. Airlifting 263 Indians stranded in Rome, the team deserves every bit of admiration and appreciation for their humanitarian efforts,” Dharmendra Pradhan said in his post
Meanwhile, Swati’s husband Ajit Kumar Bhardwaj congratulated his wife in a post on Twitter. “I congratulate my wife Capt Swati Raval to become first civil woman pilot to operate rescue flight @airindiain AI122 from Rome to Delhi to rescue 263 indian students. Really proud. (sic)”
The total number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in India has increased to 419, as of March 23. Eight people in the country have died due to the Covid-19 disease so far.