Kerala family says airline denies compensation after man dies alone in Oman hospital amid crew stir

Amrita, Nambi Rajesh
Amrita, Nambi Rajesh

Thiruvananthapuram | The family of a man, whose wife could not be by his side at the time of his death in Oman due to cancellation of flights by Air India Express, on Monday said the airline has informed them that no compensation will be provided as it was not responsible for the death.

With the latest development in connection with the incident -- which happened in May and also sparked a political furore -- the family has threatened to sue the airline.

The widow of Nambi Rajesh on Monday said the family has received a communication from the airline stating that compensation cannot be paid.

"They (the airline) have completely washed their hands. They are responsible for my husband's death," the hapless woman said.

She said if she had been by her husband's side, he would not have died.

In the recent communication to the wife, the airline said it acknowledges the tragic loss and is open to discuss any compassionate support.

"While we empathise with your situation and acknowledge that the loss is indeed tragic, it cannot be imputed to the airline. Further, with respect to the flight cancellations, these were on account of extraordinary circumstances beyond our control, and thus no compensation is applicable.

"Having said the above, we are conscious of the untimely and tragic loss you have suffered and our customer service team will be in touch with you to discuss any compassionate support," the communication said.

The family condemned the airline's approach, saying this treatment was meted out to them despite the intervention of political leaders from the state seeking compensation from the airline.

They said they would sue the airline.

The Kerala government had sought the Centre's intervention to secure compensation for the family of the man who died in Oman hospital on May 13.

In his letter to then Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia last month, Kerala General Education Minister V Sivankutty had drawn his attention to the "unfortunate incident" that took place in the life of Amrita, wife of Rajesh who was in a critical condition in Oman hospital when she was trying to travel to be with him.

Rajesh left behind two kids who are in KG classes.

“The callous and irresponsible actions of Air India Express have not only deprived Amrita of the chance to bid farewell to her husband but have also caused immeasurable anguish and suffering to her and her family. In this time of profound grief, they deserve compassion, empathy and humanitarian consideration.

“Hence, I request your esteemed intervention to (provide) all possible aid by way of monetary compensation to redress the loss suffered by Amrita and her family,” Sivankutty had said in the letter.

The state government wrote the letter to the Centre after the family of Rajesh protested with his body outside the AISATS office here, seeking compensation from Air India Express.

They said that if the airline had not cancelled flights, his wife would have been by his side.

The body of the man was brought to Kerala on May 16, and his relatives went with it directly to the office of Air India SATS Airport Services Pvt Limited (AISATS) — which provides gateway services that include ground handling, passenger assistance and air cargo handling.

After AI Express officials arrived there and held a discussion with the family members, including the woman’s father, in the presence of the police, the protest was called off and the body was taken home to perform the last rites.

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