MATHURA: Panic gripped Tulsiram Sharma's family in Govind Nagar here when they learnt about a plane crash at the Kozhikode airport in Kerala on Friday night.
Sharma's son, Akhilesh Sharma, 32, was the co-pilot of an Air India Express aircraft that was bringing back to Kozhikode Indians from Dubai as part of the government's Vande Bharat mission.
On Saturday morning, a call from a relative, who had left for Kozhikode last night, confirmed the family's worst fears.
Sharma was among the 18 people who died after the aircraft overshot the tabletop runway at the airport while landing amid heavy rain.
The aircraft, with 190 people on board, fell 35 feet into a valley and broke into two parts.
While the rest of the family is struggling to come to terms with the loss, Akhilesh's wife Megha, who is expecting a child within the next two weeks, hasn't been told about his death.
The entire family was very happy and would only talk about welcoming the baby.
No one could have imagined that something like this would happen, said Kamal Sharma, Akhilesh's maternal uncle.
None of the family members has been able to come to terms with the fact that he will never come back now, he said.
Akhilesh married Megha two years ago.
Tulsiram said his son always wanted to become a pilot.
"We could have never imagined he would lose his life like this," he said.
An aviation engineering graduate, Akhilesh started working with Air India in December 2017.
As many as 149 people were also injured in the crash and are undergoing treatment at various hospitals.