27 years ago, an airbus which was carrying 272 passengers fell from the sky. But fortunately, everyone in the flight were safe. The passengers who were traveling in that flight are not common people but so many heroes, heroines, technician from the Telugu Film Industry.
November 15, 1993.. The date still sends chills down the spine of the entire Telugu film industry. Indian Airlines 440 airbus started from Madras Airport with 272 passengers exactly at 6:20 in the morning. Senior pilot Captain Bhalla and co-pilot Velraj were in the cockpit that day. Stars like Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Vijayashanthi, Malasri, Allu Ramalingaiah And His Wife, Comedian Sudhakar, Costumes Krishna, Directors Bapu, Kodi Ramakrishna, SV Krishna Reddy, Uppalapati Narayana Rao, Writers Paruchuri Venkateswara Rao, MD Sundaram, Produces KC Sekhar Babu, Katragadda Prasad, Raasi Movies Narasimha Rao, Dance Choreographer Suchitra, Fight Master Super Subbarayan, Cinematographers KS Hari, Anumolu Hari, Chiranjeevi’s personal makeup man Shiva and so many other technicians from Tollywood were on board for the flight that day.
As everyone in the flight belongs to the same film industry, everyone were talking to each other, making jokes, and created a fun environment. After some time, everyone fell asleep. The flight reached Hyderabad Begumpet Airport at 7 o’clock in the morning. When everyone were getting ready to get down, the air hostess came in and said that the runway is not clear and they still have to wait for some more time. As there is still time, some of the passengers went back to sleep again. In the first row, Chiranjeevi and Vijayashanthi were sitting together whereas Chiru’s daughter Sreeja was sitting on his lap. Balakrishna was also busy having fun with his kids.
Co-pilot Velraj came out of the cockpit and talked about something with the air hostess. Both of them were seeing out of the windows and have been walking around with tension on their faces. Chiranjeevi noticed it and asked about it. They said that it is just a technical problem. While talking to Vijayashanti, Chiru said that something was going on and they are not going to Hyderabad because of the climate issues. Some of the stars like Chiru and Balakrishna later got to know that the wings of the flight are not opening and the fuel is running out. Everyone woke up from their sleep and got tensed about what will happen if the flight runs out of the fuel and what if the plane crashes.
Captain Bhalla announced an emergency landing after an hour and the flight finally hit the ground. But, because of the speed, all the suitcases fell down and the passengers started screaming with fear. The plane landed in Balajipalle village which was 27 kilometers away from Venkatagiri in Nellore District. As the don’t didn’t open, Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna also helped the staff and broke open the door.
The flight landed in the fields filled with mudwater but the passengers jumped into it and ran for half kilometer with the knee-length mud water and finally reached safely. The next day on November 16th, Captain RP Bhalla and the team got awarded for saving the lives of 272 passengers.
Everyone were scared to death and some of the passengers also started crying. But, Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna stood with courage and consoled their co-passengers.
“I had a video camera with me that day and I shot some scenes. The next day, Mohan Babu called me and said that we got saved because of the blessings of Shirdi Sai Baba. We often hear about the plane crash or accident news. But, when I faced it, I realized how precious life is.”
“We all were in shock. But, my kids are not at all tensed. ” Daddy, you said we are going to Madras. But, why are we in Kulu Manali,?” asked Brahmani after landing and I didn’t know what to answer. On the other hand, Tejaswini said that she wants to go into the flight again. However, as they were happy even in such situation, I got relieved. Brother Chiranjeevi also got happy to see me and my family safe. He immediately hugged me and we stood like that for 2 minutes.”
“Captain Bhalla handled the situation well and saved us like a god. He didn’t even gave us a hint about what is happening and announced an emergency landing just a few seconds before. It was a good decision because so many of the passengers would have died of heart stroke. Even after the flight got landed and everyone said that no one got harmed, I didn’t even got the thought of getting down as I was still in shock. Most of the passengers were also shocked like me and we were in the fields till afternoon that day. We got saved only because of the blessings of the fans and god.”