Inflight emergency: Pakistani doctors save Indian who suffered heart attack

Published: July 20, 2013
Vijay Phadnis landed at Karachi airport and were rushed to a private hospital. Airport authorities allowed them to enter the country without any visas or travel documentation. PHOTO: FILE

Vijay Phadnis landed at Karachi airport and were rushed to a private hospital. Airport authorities allowed them to enter the country without any visas or travel documentation. PHOTO: FILE

An elderly Indian man travelled to Pakistan with his wife and brother in-law without a visa and received emergency medical treatment in a Karachi hospital last month, the Mumbai Mirror reported on Friday. The treatment helped saved his life, the newspaper said.

Vasant Bondale, 76, was returning to Mumbai from a Scandinavian tour via Istanbul when he suffered a heart attack in mid-air. Bondale, a resident of Thane city in Maharashtra state, accompanied by his wife, Nalini and her brother, Vijay Phadnis landed at Karachi airport and were rushed to a private hospital. Airport authorities allowed them to enter the country without any visas or travel documentation.

“I was not scared of landing in Pakistan as the priority was to save my husband. It was of course on my mind that we had no visas, but the Pakistani authorities never brought it up. In fact, their cooperation is something that we don’t have words to express,” Nalini told the newspaper.

When Jayant, Bondale’s son, heard about his father’s heart attack, he decided to come to Pakistan too, but was unsure if he could get a visa in such a short time. “Believe it or not, I got a visa in a matter of hours,” the Mirror quoted Jayant as saying. Jayant expressed gratitude to Pakistani officials for their support.

“One of the officials even asked his wife to come to the hospital and stay with me just so that I would feel like we were in a safe place,” Nalini said. “They treated us like family.”

Up in the air

A cardiologist flying on the same Turkish airlines flight as Bondale , Dr Sudhir Bhate, confirmed that Bondale was having a heart attack and recommended that the patient be taken to the nearest hospital emergency.

Pilots of Turkish Airline flight TK 720 asked the nearest ATC tower- in Karachi- for an emergency landing due to a medical urgency, Junaid Kausar, manager operations for Turkish Airlines in Karachi told the Mirror.

An ambulance was ready at the Jinnah International Airport for Bondale. “The medical team rushed Vasant to the Aga Khan University Hospital in Karachi. Vasant was put on a ventilator in the cardiac care unit,” Kausar added.

The Indian ministry of external affairs has also confirmed the whole episode. “Our officials in Karachi have expressed their gratitude to Pakistani authorities,” ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (40)

  • Khalid Pathan
    Jul 20, 2013 - 10:28AM

    Saving life is the most noble contribution toward humanity. The doctor who saved the life of an Indian passenger, would not even have thought about the passengers religion. He performed his duty with professional dedication. I salute him!


  • thankful Indian
    Jul 20, 2013 - 10:50AM

    Thankyou pakistan.


  • Vikas
    Jul 20, 2013 - 11:24AM

    Thank You Pakistani authorities.


  • Punjabi
    Jul 20, 2013 - 12:25PM

    See… !!! we told you we are serious in strong ties with you guys!


  • khalsa
    Jul 20, 2013 - 1:05PM

    thanks pakistan


  • Deb; India
    Jul 20, 2013 - 2:29PM

    ‘Thanks’ appears to be too inadequate a word at times like this. Still, a big big ‘Thanks’ to people of Pakistan. Pathological haters from both sides should take note.


  • Pakistani
    Jul 20, 2013 - 2:56PM

    @thankful Indian: You are most welcome


  • Random Passerby
    Jul 20, 2013 - 3:32PM

    All the officials involved in this affair deserve medals, specially the person who sent his wife over to stay with the patient’s wife.


  • Ox
    Jul 20, 2013 - 3:42PM

    This is a good step given it was a medical emergency, Indian or not. Especially when nato aircraft and the taliban alike do not ask for any permission at all to enter our territory.


  • indian
    Jul 20, 2013 - 3:51PM

    thank u pakistan!!! from 1.27 billion indians!!!!


  • Hyperbaig
    Jul 20, 2013 - 4:09PM

    You are most welcome. Recommend

  • jim
    Jul 20, 2013 - 4:30PM

    Helped save his life*Recommend

  • ashok
    Jul 20, 2013 - 4:47PM

    Many thanks to Pakistani doctors, airport personnel and security staff for saving one life in an emergency.
    The response from the Pakistan is most appreciated. People from both sides need to interact more to know each other better. Recommend

  • Ronin
    Jul 20, 2013 - 5:44PM

    Thank You Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ijaaz
    Jul 20, 2013 - 6:14PM

    People to people contact should really increase between the two, especially between non-Muslim Indians and the Pakistanis. Muslim Indians run the risk of being tagged as a potential radical/terrorist by the internal agencies in India and thus visiting your country for an Indian Muslim (even if he has some relatives there) is fraught with a lot of risk. Hence most Muslim Indians avoid visiting Pakistan even if they have relatives, unless there is an emergency like someone’s death etc. If he doesn’t have any relatives then the risk is far higher. Non-Muslim Indians do not carry that baggage.

    Pakistan should work to eradicate the cancer of extremism from its society as it is a far greater security risk to itself than anything else. This will also encourage people from India and elsewhere to visit it.

    And Indians should also be open minded to the fact that a vast majority of Pakistanis are ‘regular’ folks just like us and should not be equated to a bunch of terrorists…Recommend

  • Hasan Mehmood
    Jul 20, 2013 - 6:54PM

    Seems like a small payback for scores of Pakistani children suffering from life threatening / complex ailments in Indian hospitals. Lets hope such stories become so common that they are no longer news worthy.


  • Manju
    Jul 20, 2013 - 7:14PM

    Thank you to all Pakistanis involved… Great gesture of humanity…


  • vasudevan
    Jul 20, 2013 - 7:16PM

    It is incorrect to say that the passengers were not issued visas. Every country issues temporary entry permit for such passengers when a plane makes an unscheduled landing on a medical emergency.


  • Milind
    Jul 20, 2013 - 7:34PM

    Thanks a bunch folks!!!


  • Shiv
    Jul 20, 2013 - 8:19PM

    Thanks Pakistan, you touched our hearts!


  • Bharat
    Jul 20, 2013 - 9:30PM

    This article shows that majority of people in both countries are friendly and want good relations.

    I want this article to be on front page of Times of India. It is important for media to show more of the humane side of both nations.

    I have met some Pakistanis in life and found them very hospitable and friendly. Moreover, i want to visit Pakistan someday


  • swat-team
    Jul 20, 2013 - 9:36PM

    Good to see reason can prevail in an emergency. Why not always? Kudos to the Authorities responsible for fast tracking everything!!


  • Jay
    Jul 21, 2013 - 12:53AM

    This is Who We Are , We are Pakistani :)


  • Jay
    Jul 21, 2013 - 12:56AM

    I welcome my indian fellow brothers to visit Pakistan and see how much hospitable we people areRecommend

  • Mirza
    Jul 21, 2013 - 1:36AM

    The goodwill oozing out from both sides of the border shows that we have the same common culture. It also proves why some do not want people to people contact. How people find time to hate when life is too short to love!


  • faiza munier
    Jul 21, 2013 - 1:37AM

    This is what PAKISTAN is …..:)


  • antanu
    Jul 21, 2013 - 2:03AM

    this news would have come as a shock to pathological haters…absence of comments from them is a glaring always…I still insist….we should stop thinking that every pakistani is extremist and belong to uncivilized monster’s race. well done guys….and thanks.


  • goggi (Lahore)
    Jul 21, 2013 - 3:30AM

    Dear Mr. Vasant Bondale, I wish you speedy recovery and a long healthy life.

    Your unfortunate heart problem has also a very sunny side. For the first time I read joyfully positive comments of Indians and Pakistanis, both addressing each other in the long ago forgotten “Heart to Heart Language” of our common ancestors!


  • Feroz
    Jul 21, 2013 - 7:46AM

    This kind gesture will be much appreciated by all.


  • Riaz Ahmad
    Jul 21, 2013 - 7:59AM

    @Khalid Pathan:
    It is not only doctors, we are all humans first and Muslims or Hindus later; we all have duty towards one another as civilized human beings; although our mullas with minds stuck in the tenth century will disagree.


  • Jul 21, 2013 - 8:01AM

    Get well soon Mr. Vasant Bondale. Your family needs you.
    This act of compassion and humanity is a sine qua non in our relations. We are all humans and saving each other in times of need is what humanity is all about. Indians also reciprocate in the same way and show similar feelings of compassion and kindness.
    What surprises me is the facility with which, our authorities acted to put aside all bureaucratic formalities. Well done and shabash to the authorities and the medical staff. Salams to India and Pakistan.


  • bangash
    Jul 21, 2013 - 8:03AM

    Good show by Pakistanis and thanks for good news story.


  • Saad
    Jul 21, 2013 - 2:41PM

    What a heartwarming story, humanity prevails! Pleasantly surprised at the quick action shown by the Pakistani authorities, good show.
    Kudos to The Express Tribune for publishing this story and spreading the goodwill between the two countries, I haven’t seen this reported by any other media wing here in Pakistan.
    God forbid if it were another ‘we killed them, they killed us’ story it would be everywhere within seconds…seems like some people have a lot to gain by having both countries in a perpetual state of confusion and stress. I for one have had enough of hatred…


  • Karachi
    Jul 21, 2013 - 6:08PM

    This shows the real feelings! I’m glad that our Indian brothers and sisters are happy !

    Why don’t we both understand that it’s all stupid politics thats making us far away from each other?!


  • robinhoodpandey
    Jul 21, 2013 - 7:34PM

    well it is so rare to see good news related to indo-pak relation…but still these type of stories give you joy much more than any other story…..


  • S Ali
    Jul 22, 2013 - 4:25AM

    In the midst of all of this “joyous” mood, I’m pretty sure if he was a Pakistani passenger having a heart attack on flight, they wouldn’t have taken him to a Mumbai or a New Delhi hospital simply because he wouldn’t have a visa Call me a hater if you want, but I’m just being realistic.


  • S Ali
    Jul 22, 2013 - 4:41AM

    Way to go Pakistanis! Make us proud!


  • Feroz
    Jul 22, 2013 - 10:54AM

    @S Ali:
    You can speculate all you want in the absence of facts. When Wasim Akram was flying with his critically ill wife to Singapore for treatment, flight had to make a landing in Chennai as her health had deteriorated. When they had visas is another issue, however they had not planned on landing in India. If you read news you would have read the tales of numerous Pakistani friends whose lives have been saved by Indian Doctors, who continue to save the lives of many from poorer developing countries at minimal cost.


    Jul 25, 2013 - 11:51PM


    Hater Likely To Hate Every Good thing !!!!!!!!!!!!!1


  • anoop
    Aug 29, 2013 - 5:20PM

    good work by pakistan……….thank you all people love from india


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