Neerja Bhanot in 1987
Neerja Bhanot was the senior flight purser on the ill-fated Pan Am Flight 73, hijacked as it headed out of Mumbai and landed at Karachi en route to Frankfurt and onward to New York City by four armed terrorists. Despite being tackled, she helped the three-member cockpit crew of pilot, co-pilot and the flight engineer escape. In the following 17-hour ordeal, she hid the passports of the passengers on the flight so that the hijackers could not differentiate between American and Non-American citizens. Eventually, she opened the emergency door, flung a chute and assisted a number of passengers escape from the flight, while she laid down her life shielding three children from bullets fired by the terrorists.