In an unfortunate mix up of dead bodies, a bereaved Indian family in Kerala received the mortal remains of another man, who also died in Abu Dhabi around the same time, Khaleej Times has learnt.
The body of Kamatchi Krishnan, 39, hailing from Tamil Nadu was repatriated to the grieving relatives of Keralite expat, Nidhin Othayoth Kottaron, 29, who died last week in Abu Dhabi, sources close to the case have confirmed.
A relative of deceased Nidhin said the family realised there was a mix up when the coffin arrived in in Calicut, Kerala on Friday on an Air India flight.
"His parents were desperately waiting for the mortal remains since one week. They are still in a state of shock on what happened," said the relative.
Both the Indian expats died two days apart but it is not clear how the mix up happened at the mortuary where both the bodies were kept.
Nidhin who was working as a site supervisor in Ruwais was found dead on July 5, while Krishnan reportedly died on July 7. The cause of death for both cases are not confirmed.
The body of Krishnan is currently kept in the mortuary at a government hospital in Nidhin's native place in Wayanad, Kerala, awaiting relatives.
An Indian embassy official who is dealing with the case said they are doing everything possible to help the families.
"We are not sure how this unfortunate incident happened. Our first priority is to support the families by expediting the repatriation of the body, which is still in the mortuary," an Indian embassy official told Khaleej Times.
"We had already issued required documents for repatriation. Now because of the mix up, we are coordinating with the relatives to issue a duplicate set of documents for repatriating Nidhin's body, which is still kept in the mortuary.
"Our officials at the Tamil Nadu branch Secretariat of the Ministry of External Affairs is trying to get in contact with the family members of Krishnan. Once procedures are cleared locally, they can collect the body from Kerala."
A relative of Nidhin said they expect the body to be flown to Kerala by Friday night.
"One of his relatives and a relative of Krishnan will accompany the body from Abu Dhabi. After obtaining clearance from the local police, they will take the body from Kerala to Tamil Nadu."
Ranjan Dutta, Air India Manager for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain sector, said all required documents were submitted while repatriating the body.�
"The human remains are booked on air consignment note based on the original documents produced to Air India or any carrier for that matter, which includes death certificate, police clearance, certification of passport cancellation by the embassy and cancelled passport of the deceased."
"Nidhin's body was supposed to be sent on Air India's Calicut-bound flight on Friday and Krishnan's remains were booked on an Etihad flight to Chennai on the same day. A relative of the deceased was travelling with the body. It was a human error while embalming that caused the mix up," said Dutta.
"We are awaiting clearance from the concerned authorities, and once the documents are ready, Air India will extend full cooperation to repatriate the mortal remains at the earliest."