Indian diplomats in Brussels are continuing the search for Raghavendran Ganeshan, an Infosys employee who has been missing since Tuesday’s bomb explosions in Brussels, and have been able to trace his last telephone activity that day.
“We have tracked his last call in Brussels. He was travelling in the metro rail,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who has been personally monitoring help for Indians stranded in Brussels, wrote in a tweet on Thursday.
On Thursday, Mr. Ganeshan’s brother reached Belgium from Germany, where he works, to help with the search operations. Officials told The Hindu that telephone records of the Infosys engineer had placed him at the Montgomery metro station, just before 9 a.m.
The blast at the Maelbeek Metro Station, four stops away occurred at about 9:11 am. Earlier, Mr. Ganeshan’s mother, who had also spoken to Ms. Swaraj said that her son had called her via Skype an hour before the explosion, and said he would be taking the metro to work shortly. Mr. Ganeshan’s wife and their infant son are in Chennai at present.
Brussels Police had said they believe at least 20 people died at the Maelbeek station, with the rail cars completely mangled in the powerful explosion, which occurred after the blast at city airport on Tuesday morning, where atleast 11 more were killed.
However, while there has been no intimation about Raghavendran Ganeshan, officials don’t rule out that he could be amongst more than 260 injured who are being treated in various hospitals in the country. According to officials, many of the victims from the Maelbeek attack are sequestered in one particular hospital.
“We are up against privacy laws that prevent us from getting a full list of those injured, as well as strict rules at the hospitals that won't allow us to go in and personally identify anyone,” India’s Ambassador to the E.U., Manjeev Puri, told The Hindu via telephone from Brussels.
“We are hoping, we are praying that we can somehow make contact with Mr. Ganeshan, and now that his brother has arrived, we hope to take his help in identifying him,” he added.
Relief for stranded Indians
Meanwhile, there was relief for hundreds of Indian passengers stranded in Brussels since Tuesday as the airport was closed. While the Belgian government, which has raised its alert to its highest levels, refused to let passengers or their luggage be flown out of Brussels, the embassy and the airlines were able to negotiate for four Jet Airways planes to be flown out to Amsterdam along with others.
By Thursday, about 530 passengers had been driven on specially-arranged coaches to Amsterdam, who then took the flights on to Delhi, Mumbai and Toronto. About 70, still remaining in Brussels, are hopeful of getting the first flights available once the Zaventem airport opens.
According to the airports authority, no flights will be allowed on Friday as well. “Because the forensic investigation is still underway, we currently have no access to the building. Until we can assess the damage, it remains unclear when we can resume operations,” an official release added.