Dubai-Calicut AIE plane crash survivors, victims' families to help build health centre at accident site

Contributions come on second anniversary Air India Express flight 1344 collision in Kerala



by

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Sun 7 Aug 2022, 6:37 PM

Last updated: Sun 7 Aug 2022, 9:01 PM

A group consisting of survivors and family members of victims of a Dubai-Kozhikode plane crash has pledged to contribute to the building of a health centre as a token of appreciation for the people who rescued them after the accident.

On the second anniversary of the crash of Air India Express flight 1344 in the south Indian state of Kerala, the Air Crash Action Council handed over a document of an agreement to contribute to the construction of an additional building for the government Primary Health Centre near Calicut International Airport in Karipur.

Working in association with the Malabar Development Forum (MDF) Charity Foundation, several passengers and families have pitched in with parts of the money they received from their compensatory payouts by Air India.

Out of the 109 on board, twenty-one people, including two pilots, died when the special Vande Bharat Mission repatriation flight that was carrying those stuck in Dubai following the Covid-19 pandemic, skidded off the runway and broke in two while landing amid heavy rain.

A ceremony to commemorate the incident was held this morning at 11am in Kerala, attended by survivors, family members, residents of the area and local politicians.

Compensation handed out

All compensatory payments for the victims and survivors have been closed when just a handful, yet to receive the money in the bank, confirmed OK Mansoor Ali, chief coordinator of the Malabar Development Forum (MDF), speaking to Khaleej Times over the phone from Calicut.

"The MDF put the group of passengers and their families in touch with several legal consultants so that they could understand their rights and proceed accordingly," he said.

"Some people decided to approach Air India directly while others decided to go through lawyers. Whatever they decided, MDF facilitated it without taking any compensation."

From the UAE, 47 compensation payouts to 23 families were settled through a single law firm. Murthasa Fasal, whose toddler died in the incident, was one of the last ones to accept the compensation amount. His wife Sumayya Thasneem has had life-altering injuries.

"Last week we got an offer for a compensation amount," he said. "No matter how much they give, it is not going to bring my daughter back or take away the trauma we suffered. But it was decent enough, so we accepted. I think the money will be deposited in my bank account within a couple of days."

The Dubai-resident also admitted that it was not common for airline crash victims to receive their payouts so quickly. "I know that some victims of previous plane crashes are still awaiting their compensation," he said. "The way we presented a united front, support from all media and willingness of Air India, all helped us to reach a quick agreement."

Giving back

"It is extremely rare for people to come forward and rescue victims of a plane crash like how the people of Kozhikode came forth that day," said Mansoor Ali. "Their timely intervention saved the lives of many. The passengers and families of the victims wanted to express their gratitude to those residents of that area."

Those in and around the Malappuram district, where Calicut International Airport is located, were commended for their rescue operations in the aftermath of the crash. At the time Air India had expressed its gratitude in a tweet.

"Taking a bow to HUMANITY!A standing ovation from our hearts to the PEOPLE OF MALAPPURAM, Kerala, who had showered us with kindness & humanity during the uncertain incident. We owe you a lot! We at Air India Express take a bow to the people of Malappuram who have risked their own lives to save many. WE OWE YOU!"

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According to Mansoor Ali, the group pondered many ideas, including an old age home and park, before deciding to contribute to the primary health centre.

"The health centre is just 300 meters away from the flight crash," he said. "Developing that would directly aid the people of that area and help improve their lives."

Mansoor Ali said the Air Crash Action Council, which had been at the forefront of all mediations, started off as a baggage help desk before snowballing into a one-of-a-kind support group. It has organized several initiatives, including motivational talks and legal redress to support survivors and families.


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