Air India's American Pilot Found Dead in Hotel

Times of India 
MUMBAI, Jul 21: A 62-year-old American national working as a pilot with Air India was found dead in a hotel room at Royal Palms, Goregaon (E), on Sunday.

Richard Robert was visiting an airhostess, also employed with the same airline, at her room in Park Plaza. The police suspected that he suffered a heart attack. No external injuries were found on the body and an autopsy would be conducted at the Borivli post-mortem centre on Monday.

Robert, a resident of Water House Circle in California, shared a friendly relation with the airhostess, Ranjeetkaur Khalsa (47), a native of Haryana.

On Saturday, Khalsa came to Mumbai by flight AI 130 from London. She reached the hotel, where AI provides accommodation to its employees, around noon.

Police officials said Khalsa received a phone call from Robert, who wanted to enquire about where she had put up. Around 6 pm, Robert arrived at the Mumbai airport and headed for the hotel to meet Khalsa. "Room No 545 was booked in Khalsa's name. Robert stayed over on Saturday and the two had dinner. Later, Robert had two pegs of vodka and fell asleep while watching television," said inspector Vilas Sanap.

Around 5.30 am, Robert had a severe bout of cough. When Khalsa asked him if he was unwell, Robert replied that he was fine. He had a glass of water, but soon lost consciousness. Khalsa immediately alerted the hotel staff, who summoned a doctor from Hiranandani Hospital in Powai.

A doctor examined Robert and declared him dead. A hotel employee, Sudarshan Vairaj, then informed the Aarey Colony police about the matter and a panchnama was conducted.

"We are inquiring with Khalsa and the hotel staff about the meal Robert had the previous evening. We will also probe if Robert and Khalsa had any argument," a senior official said.

The police brought the matter to the notice of the AI management, who will get in touch with the American consulate and inform Robert's California-based family about the incident. The family is likely to arrive in Mumbai on Monday. The post-mortem has been kept pending till then.

An AI spokesperson said they were cooperating with the police in the investigation. The Aarey Colony police have registered a case of accidental death


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Comment on this article

  • Jennifer, USA

    Sun, Jul 27 2008

    Jerry, I'm curious why do you think this could be fabricated? As a journalist, is there anything about this story that seems inconsistent to you or was that just a general comment?

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Jerry Moras, Kuppepadauv / Calgary, Canada

    Tue, Jul 22 2008

    Whole story could be fabricated. Truth may be something else. I think CBI investigation required.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

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