Kuwait building fire: After Kochi, plane carrying bodies of victims arrives in Delhi

The air hung heavy with grief as an IAF aircraft carrying the mortal remains of 14 of the 45 Indians who died in a devastating fire at a building in Kuwait landed at Delhi's Palam technical area from Kerala's Kochi on Friday evening.
IAF aircraft carrying the mortal remains of Indians who died in Kuwait fire tragedy
IAF aircraft carrying the mortal remains of Indians who died in Kuwait fire tragedy

New Delhi | The air hung heavy with grief as an IAF aircraft carrying the mortal remains of 14 of the 45 Indians who died in a devastating fire at a building in Kuwait landed at Delhi's Palam technical area from Kerala's Kochi on Friday evening.

A C-130J aircraft carrying the 45 bodies landed at the Kochi international airport around 10.30 am. Thirty-one bodies were received at the airport by Central and state ministers, including Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The remaining 14 bodies were sent to Delhi in the same aircraft as a domestic flight from Kochi, airport authorities in Kerala said.

After the plane arrived at the Palam technical area in the national capital, newly elected MPs Bansuri Swaraj, Yogender Chandolia and Kamaljeet Sehrawat stood on the tarmac with folded hands as the caskets were lowered from the aircraft.

The special IAF aircraft had taken off for Kochi from Kuwait on Friday morning.

At least 49 foreign workers were killed and 50 others injured in the fire on Wednesday at the seven-storey building in Kuwait's Mangaf.

Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh, who accompanied the mortal remains on the IAF flight from Kuwait to Kochi, further travelled to Delhi and was present on the tarmac when the caskets were lowered.

The bodies were then taken to ambulances stationed nearby to ferry them for their onward journeys.

At the Cochin airport, Singh told PTI that Indian Embassy staffers in Kuwait are "constantly monitoring" the condition of all injured people at hospitals.

"We went there yesterday, visited every single (injured) person in the five hospitals and inquired about their health," he said, adding that most of them will be discharged in 2-3 days.

"The hospital authorities are taking exceptionally good care of them," the Minister of State for External Affairs said.

He added the Kuwaiti government has "gone out of the way to expedite this process", otherwise this could have taken many more days.

From Kerala to Bihar, a pall of gloom has descended at the native places of the victims with grief-stricken families mourning the loss of loved ones in the fire incident.

Most deaths were due to smoke inhalation while residents in the building were sleeping when the fire broke out early Wednesday in Kuwait's southern Ahmadi Governorate. The building was home to 196 migrant workers, mostly Indians.

A sombre ambience prevailed at the Palam technical area when the IAF aircraft carrying the 14 bodies landed here.

Chandolia, the northwest Delhi MP, later posted some photographs on X.

"After reaching there, I handed over the bodies of the deceased to their families and paid tributes. During this process, I experienced a heart-wrenching pain. May god give peace to all the departed souls and give strength to their families to bear this grief... Om Shanti," he wrote on the social media platform.

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