The victims had booked tickets for sight-seeing on Monday

Their joy over their sight-seeing trip to Mount Everest being advanced by a day turned to perennial grief for their families. None of the eight builders from Tiruchi who died in an air crash in Nepal on Sunday morning would have realised that their good fortune would be so tragically short-lived and destiny have other ideas for them.

According to sources in Builders' Association of India, Tiruchi Centre, the victims had booked for the sight-seeing trip on Monday, but were accommodated in Sunday's flight after a family of eight cancelled their booking in the eleventh hour.

Those killed were G. Thiagarajan, Meenakshisundaram, Kattur Mahalingam, Dhanasekaran, M.V.Marudachalam, A.K. Krishnan, V.M.Kanaka Sabesan, and M. Manimaran. Mr. Manimaran had assumed charge as the BAI Tiruchi Centre Chairman earlier this year. The rest of them were General Council Members of the Tiruchi Centre of the BAI. They had gone along with four others: Pugazhendi, All India Vice-President; Gowthaman, Tirusankaran, and Saravanan, GC Members for the BAI's national level general council meeting in New Delhi. The four returned after the meeting while the rest left for Kathmandu on Saturday.

Shocked beyond words, family members of the victims hoped against hope that their dear ones would have survived the tragedy. For, initial reports said only nine or ten out of the 19 persons on board would have died when the Beechcraft crashed into a valley. Gloom set in after it became clear later in the day that none had survived the crash. Most of the victims were from the upscale Thillai Nagar in the city.

Though the district administration did not receive any official communication from the Central Government on the tragedy till evening, it went into action by immediately apprising the State government about the details of the builders in Tiruchi who had boarded the ill-fated flight. Details of the victims were provided by the few builders in the delegation who had returned after the All India General Council meeting of the Builders'Association of India (BAI).

District Collector Jayashree Muralidharan said the family members' appeal to secure the bodies at the earliest was communicated to the Government. One member each from the eight families left by flight in the evening from Tiruchi to Chennnai from where the State Government has made arrangements to take them to New Delhi.

Official sources said DNA matching would be carried out in the event of the immediate relatives facing difficulty in identifying the bodies.