A day after an Air India Express flight crash-landed in Kerala's Kozhikkode and claimed 18 lives, families of the deceased and injured are still coming to terms with the tragedy.
Prajeesh, who lost his mother in the crash, was struggling to keep his voice steady as he spoke to Khaleej Times over the phone from Kerala. He was on his way to the hospital to collect her mortal remains.
His 59-year-old mother Santha Marakkat had travelled to Dubai to visit her second son, but got stuck in the country due to Covid-19-triggered travel restrictions. "She was returning with my cousin Manoj Kumar, who was severely injured in the crash and admitted to the intensive care unit. He needs to undergo some major surgeries as his ears are blocked and he has sustained injuries in both his legs."
Relative succumbs to injuries
Another Dubai resident whose relief turned into grief was Abdullah Kevi. His wife's sister Zhenobia Mohammed Ali used to shuttle between India and the UAE where her husband works. But this stay turned out to be longer than usual due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Abdullah had told Khaleej Times on Friday that the family was relieved as Zhenobia and her two children had survived the crash. However, she succumbed to injuries at a hospital in Kerala.
4 of 5-member family critical
Another family of five were returning to their hometown and have sustained critical injuries.
Saifudheen, 43, who works at a general trading company in Dubai, is battling for life at Baby Memorial Hospital, Kozhikode. His wife, Fasalunnisa, 36, has injured both her legs and back and is scheduled for major surgeries.
Saifudheen's brother, Rafeeque, said: "Their 13-year-old daughter Sana has sustained severe injuries in her head, chest, arms and legs.
The teenager has already undergone one surgery at Al Shifa Hospital at Perinthalmanna in Malappuram. She is currently under observation and will need other surgeries. Sana's 10-year-old brother Mohammad Sahil has sustained serious injuries in his shoulder and legs, too. My two-year-old niece Aiysha is fine."
Fasalunnisa and her children had come to Dubai in March to be with Saifudheen.
'My dad couldn't open seat belt'
More fortunate than many was 41-year-old Ashik Puthar Peediyekkal who is recuperating at MIMS Kottakkal. After being treated for minor injuries, he will be discharged soon.
His 14-year-old son Muhammad Raihan who is now posted by his father's side said: "My father was returning as he'd lost his job. He has suffered injuries in his shoulder and has scratches on his stomach as he was unable to open the seat belt. We are thankful to God that he is otherwise fine and has survived after all this."