With officials completing all formalities, the process of sending the bodies of those who lost their lives on Friday night in the stampede at Pulmedu near the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple to their homes began on Sunday.

The bodies were embalmed at the district hospitals in Kochi and Kottayam under the supervision of district-level revenue authorities. The mortal remains of 22 persons were sent to Andhra Pradesh from the Cochin International Airport at Nedumbassery early in the morning after their embalming at the Ernakulam district general hospital.

Ernakulam District Collector M. Beena, Additional District Magistrate K.N. Raji, Aluva tahsildar M.A. Joseph and Superintendent of Police (rural) T. Vikram supervised the operations at the airport.

Jet Airways flight 9W406, which carried the bodies of Venkiteswara Rao, Rajkumar Appa and Uppala Prasad, took off to Mumbai at 8.15 a.m., while Air India's IC182 lifted off with the bodies of Prasad, Ramu, Ganesh and Shinu to the same destination a little later. Official sources said that the bodies would be taken from Mumbai to Hyderabad by another aircraft.

The bodies of Ramachandran, Arun Kumar, G. Raj and Gangadhara Rao were flown to Chennai by Air India flight IC 509 at 9.50 a.m. An Indigo flight (6E 315) that left to Chennai at 10.10 a.m. carried the bodies of Sarveshan, Sreenivas, Achyuth and Rambabu Reddy.

The bodies of Govindu, Hari Prasad Gujale, Venkiteswara and Aravind were sent directly to Hyderabad by Spicejet flight SG 108 and those of Ramachandra Murthy, P.Surly and Govinda Rao were taken to Hyderabad by a Jetlite flight at 2.10 p.m.

The Cochin International Airport Authority (CIAL) had made elaborate arrangements in the light of reports that the Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka governments were likely to send chartered flights to take the bodies back home. A team of officials, led by Airport Director A.C.K. Nair and officials of various airlines put up a coordinated effort to help those who accompanied the coffins.

Bodies were brought to the General Hospital late on Saturday night. Relatives and fellow pilgrims accompanied them. Nine bodies at the Ernakulam General Hospital are yet to be identified. According to hospital superintendent Junaid Rehman, the bodies would be embalmed after their identification.

As many as nine bodies were taken to the Kottayam district hospital. Of these, two were from Andhra Pradesh, six from Karnataka and one from Matara district in Sri Lanka, hospital authorities said.

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