Courage is not the absence of fear but the acquired ability to move beyond it. 21 year old Roshni Haiju is one of those people whose commitment has set an example for when the willingness to achieve your dreams is true no amount of fear can cast you aside.
Roshni was one of the crew members on board Agni Air Flight CHT which crashed near Jomsom Airport on 14th May 2012. She was one of the survivors of the horrific crash that took the life of 15 out of the 21 people on board that day; including the Pilot and the Co-Pilot. As terrifying as the experience was Roshni has seemingly cast aside the inevitable fear that came with it and is cruising the skies again. She is currently employed as a cabin crew member at Goma Air where she has been working since 2014.
Roshni completed her higher secondary education from National Campus, Balkumari, Lalitpur in 2011 and is currently enrolled as a 3rd year for BBS at Nepal Commerce Campus. She upon the completion of her higher secondary education went on to complete her cabin crew training from Aviation Ground School, Kamaladi in 2012.
“It was really an exciting and unforgettable moment for me. Something I had dreamt of since an age I don’t remember, had come true”, she said about her first flying experience. She revealed that the aviation sector has been fascinating her ever since her childhood and thus inspired her to choose a career in it. She recalls how her parents and specially her dad wasn’t pleased with the idea of her being an air hostess as they believed it was not safe for her. “I then convinced my mom who in turn helped convince my dad and since then they have been my pillars of support and are very proud of me”, she smilingly said.
“I love travelling and making new friends,” she said about her hobbies. She also loves singing and dancing and claims to be a live wire in her friends’ circle. “I am also a pretty good chef,” she said. She also takes time to thank her friends who have always supported her. “My friends have always supported me and it feels great that they are proud of me working as a successful cabin crew,” she added.
“We took off from Pokhara to Jomsom at 9:15 am which was scheduled to be our fourth and the last flight for the day. We were supposed to land but that’s not what happened. The pilots attempted a go-around for another landing attempt. I remember I was seating at the rear end of the aircraft with my seat belt well fastened. I then heard an unusual sound which came as a complete surprise for me as I hadn’t heard anything like that before. Moments after I had heard the sound, I opened my eyes and saw a sight anyone would have dreaded to see. I saw the dead bodies of my passengers around me. I screamed for help. A Danish lady too had survived and was trying to flee the aircraft. I kept on screaming for help and thankfully there was a Nepali Army Camp very near to the crash site. Just as I was about to get rescued from the wreckage of the crashed aircraft cabin, I heard a voice calling for help. It was a little Indian girl who had also survived but kept screaming for her parents. I requested the Army rescue team to help rescue the little girl first as nothing had happened to me. I was helping to pull the little girl out to safety when bad luck intervened again. The door of the aircraft broke and fell on my leg. It led to a fracture of my femur bone,” she explained.
She was taken to Manipal Hospital, Pokhara for treatment by the Nepalese Army and transferred to Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu. She further added, “My leg was giving me a lot of pain but I was still conscious. I then remembered all the passengers and crew members who had boarded the flight along with me that day.”
”Something I hadn’t seen in my wildest imaginations had taken place and yet amazingly I survived. The grief I felt upon the fate of my passengers and fellow crew members was greater than the pain I was suffering. Most people would have given up on flying again but the vibes I felt were the exact opposite. My wish of flying was stronger than ever before. In a way the experience I had, made me stronger and inspired me to excel at my work,” said an emotional Roshni.
She spent 9 long months resting and getting back to normal. She missed her work even then, for the dream she once had couldn’t be tampered even by an accident of such magnitude as she went through. Agni Air had indefinitely halted their operations and there was no opening elsewhere. She then started hosting a program for Channel Nepal and kept tabs on any opening for a cabin crew member. About 2 years after the crash, she was flying again but this time with Goma Air. She remembers how everyone around her supported her move and sounded their amazement at how her face with no trace of fear, reflected just the happiness of getting back in the airspace again.
Roshni Haiju at such a young age has conquered the feeling of fear that would have crippled even the mightiest of people. Her willingness to carry out her duty and help others even in the moments of such distress reflects the values cabin crews in Nepal work with and also inspires newcomers to carry on the legacy.
The ease with which she came back after the dreadful crash not only underlines her commitment to pursue her dream in aviation but also inspires people to come through with theirs. “Aviation field is a wonderland to work in and I still enjoy every second of it. Keep up your love for Nepal’s Aviation and watch it conquer new heights every day,” she concluded.