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Neerja Bhanot
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Aviator
    (September 7, 1963-September 5, 1986)
    Born in Chandigarh, India
    Died in Karachi, Pakistan
    Pan Am flight stewardess based in Bombay, India
    Killed when terrorists hijacked U.S.-bound Pan Am Flight 73 (September 5, 1986)
    Posthumous recipient of India's Ashoka Chakra, Pakistan's Tamgha-e-Insaniyat and U.S.A.'s Justices for Crimes Award
    In 1985, she wed in an arranged ceremony.
    The marriage lasted just 2 months, dissolving due to dowry issues.
    A stamp was created in her honor (2004).
    The flight was grounded in Karachi after the pilot, first officer and flight engineer abandoned the plane, leaving Neerja to take control during the hijacking.
    To calm frightened passengers during the 17-hour ordeal, she continued serving coffee and cookies, with a smile.
    When the auxiliary power went out, she helped many passengers and crew escape through a chute as terrorists began randomly shooting.
    She was killed shielding three children from the hail of gunfire.
    She died just 2 days before her birthday.

Credit: Black Chic


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