Anisha Sheth

Over 100 Air India personnel are assisting victims' kin

One team member assigned to each survivor

These volunteers have arrived from across the country

MANGALORE: Over 100 Air India personnel have been working overtime since 2 p.m. on Saturday to assist the families of the victims of the air crash that took place at the Bajpe airport earlier that day. There were 160 passengers and six crew members on board Flight IX-812.

The passengers included 137 adults, 19 children and 4 infants. Eight passengers survived miraculously.

Working as part of the Special Assistance Teams (SATs), the first batch of 20 volunteers reached Mangalore airport around 2 p.m. on the day of the crash.

‘Angels of AI'

Dubbed “Angels of Air India”, one member of the team has been assigned to each of the survivors while scores of others assist the families of the victims.

Mamata V., a resident of Bejai, has been assigned to record the details of the bodies claimed from the Wenlock Hospital mortuary. Even though she was on sick leave, Ms. Mamta, who works at the Mangalore office of the airline, was determined to offer assistance at the airport. After meeting all the survivors at the hospitals, she headed for the mortuary at Wenlcok Hospital.

“On both days, I left the mortuary only when it closed around 11 p.m. I have not been able to eat much since I started working. The only thing that has gone into my stomach these two days is water.

“I'm too disturbed to talk about what happened there. The bodies are charred, what post-mortem will they (doctors) do…” she says shaking her head.

Over 150 Air India personnel have arrived from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi, and Chennai, said A.K. Varma, Instructor and Assistant General Manager, (Technical and Training), Air India.

“Now that the DNA samples of 22 unclaimed bodies have been sent to Hyderabad, we will set up a helpdesk and begin working on insurance claims. Our volunteers will be here as long as they are required,” he added.

Uma Devarajan from Mumbai, told The Hindu, “We have been receiving families from Mumbai and elsewhere here at the airport. All of them have been assigned volunteers who will take them to the mortuary and help them claim the bodies of their loved ones.

“We have also arranged transport and accommodation for those who need it.”