Seven of the eight survivors employed in West Asia have lost their work permits

The eight survivors of the Air India Express flight that crashed here on Saturday can avail themselves of jobs with Air India (AI) if they so choose.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Saturday, AI Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav said seven of the eight survivors, who were employed in West Asia, had lost their work permits in the crash because of which they could not go back to their jobs. He said the airline would be happy to absorb these persons into its workforce.

The survivors working abroad are: Ummer Farooq Mohammed, Joel Pratap D'Souza, Moin Kutty, Krishnan Koolikkunnu, G.K Pradeep, Mohammed Usman and Puttur Ismail Abdulla. Sabrina Nasir Haq, the lone woman survivor, is a medical student in Manipal.

Addressing journalists on Sunday, Mr. Jadhav picked one survivor, Joel Pratap D'Souza, for special mention. Mr. D'Souza, who escaped from the wreck and arrived at the airport in an autorickshaw, provided the ground staff involved in the rescue operations with vital information, Mr. Jadhav had said. “Adversity displays the character of people. A person like this would be an asset to any organisation and we would love to have him on our team,” he said.

Compensation

At Monday's press conference Mr. Jadhav said the airline would push for maximum possible compensation to the victims of the crash and their families. For the solicitation of the insurance claims, the noted Mumbai-based law firm ‘Mulla & Mulla & Craige Blunt & Caroe' had been hired, Mr. Jadhav said.

Responding to persistent questions from sections of the media regarding the extent of the compensation, Mr. Jadhav said he did not want to hurt the prospects of the victims by quoting a speculative figure. “If I quote a figure, there is every chance for the insurance company to limit the claim to my public statement. This will not be good for the victims,” he said.

Tearful adieu

More families on Monday bade tearful adieu to their loved ones who died in the crash. A few bodies were brought in coffins to a Church in Kulasekhara for rituals before being taken for burial.

Four-year-old Viola, who lost her parents, Naveen and Sarita Fernandes, in Saturday's tragedy seemed to know very little about the turn of events. They had left Viola behind with her aunt in the city and were working in West Asia, said a family member. On Monday morning, the coffin bearing the body of the Serbian pilot Zlatko Glusica, the only non-Indian on the ill-fated Air India Express flight IX-812, began the journey to his homeland. AI officials Aprajit Saxena and Anil Agrawal accompanied the coffin to Delhi on Flight IC 761, along with Captain Alexander Vasiljevic, a pilot with the airline.

Captain Vasiljevic will accompany the body till it is handed over to Glusica's family in Belgrade on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, flight IC 935 to Hyderabad left with 80 body samples of victims and close relatives for DNA testing. Twenty-two bodies, which were not identified or had multiple claimants, have been sent to mortuaries in different hospitals where they will remain till the DNA test results are received. The process could take 10 to 15 days.