Other than the Neerja’s act of bravery, there are some lesser know facts about India’s Youngest and First Female who recieved Arjuna Award, that will leave you astonished:
1. She saved 359 lives aboard Pan Am flight 73 which was hijacked in Karachi.
After battling for more than 17 hours, when the hijackers started firing and set off explosives Neerja opened the emergency door to evacuate the passengers.
2. When she alerted the pilots about the hijack, they were the first ones to run away.
There were three members in American Cockpit Crew fled, but Neerja’s confidence to take full control of the situation was commendable. She continued fighting for more than 17 hours and did not give up till she saved passengers.
3. At the age of 23, she was youngest and first women recipient of Ashok Chakra, India’s highest peace time gallantry award.
Afterward she was recognised internationally as The heroine of the Hijack.
4. She died while protecting 3 kids from bullets.
She did all she could and successfully managed to save lives, except her own.
5. In 2004, a stamp was released and a square in Ghatkopar is named after her which was inaugurated by Amitabh Bachchan.
6. Her parents used the insurance money and contribution from Pan Am for using their brand name in the Trust’s title and set up the Neerja Bhanot Pan Am Trust.
two awards are given by the trust one for a flight crew who acts beyond the call of duty and another to an Indian woman who faced social injustice and choose to help other women.
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