It was a double tragedy for a family in Kerala's Kasaragod district which lost its UAE-based son, who was on his way to attend his father's funeral, in the Air India Express plane crash at Mangalore on Saturday.
Siddique Sulaiman, a trading salesman, was desperate to attend his father's last rites in Kasaragod and ended up finding a seat aboard the Air India Express flight to Mangalore.
“We were at the airport since yesterday morning trying to find a flight for Siddique so that he could attend the funeral. He finally got a seat on this flight at around 10 p.m. last night,” Siddique's brother-in-law Abdul Nasir said.
Siddique's brother, Usman Sulaiman, had boarded an earlier flight and reached Kasaragod in time for the funeral.
Siddique, who was working for UAE's Skyland Trading, was travelling alone, Mr. Nasir said.
His sisters and brothers-in-law live here in the UAE. “All of us were at the airport to see him off last night. It is a heart-breaking tragedy for the entire family,” Mr. Nasir said.
The funeral of Siddique's father took place at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Kumar, an Abu Dhabi resident, said close members of his family took the same flight only last week. People from North Kerala alighted at Mangalore as they were only a two-hour drive away from home, he added.
Another UAE-based Indian, Qadir, who also hails from Kasaragod, said a lot of people from the district opted for this route. “This airport is only 63 km away from the city and it is easy for people in my hometown to land at Mangalore,” he said.
He said a lot of victims on the flight could have been from Kasaragod.
All but seven people on the Air India Express plane from Dubai with 166 persons on board are feared dead after the Boeing aircraft crashed and caught fire while landing at the Mangalore airport on Saturday.