At the tender age of 22 and just 2 days before her 23rd birthday, Neerja laid down her life, while saving hundreds of others.
Neerja was the Senior Flight Purser on a Pan Am flight which was hijacked at Karachi airport by 4 heavily armed hijackers. The pilot and the flight crew fled from the cockpit. Setting aside all concern for her personal safety, Neerja identified herself to the terrorists as the crew member in-charge. A long, tension - filled ordeal started. Yet, after the initial fear-filled minutes of the unknown, Neerja was a picture of calm, confident leadership. She comforted the passengers, especially the elderly and small children.