Indian expat on Saudi-India flight dies in Abu Dhabi


An Indian expatriate on an India-bound flight from Saudi Arabia died in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday after the plane made an emergency landing in the UAE capital.

35-year-old Mohammed Salim, a native of Malappuram in Kerala, died of cardiac arrest at Mafraq Hospital, minutes after he was rushed for emergency medical care.

Air India Express flight IX-322 from Riyadh to Calicut made an emergency landing after the passenger complained of chest pain and vomited blood, Khaleej Times quoted Airport duty officer Sreenath S. as having said.

Mohammad Saleem

“They were trying to divert the plane to Dubai. But the situation got worse when the passenger vomited blood, and plane made an emergency landing in Abu Dhabi,” he said.

The duty officer said the plane landed in Abu Dhabi at 3.51 and by 4.15 the passenger was shifted to the ambulance and rushed to the hospital. However by 5.10, he was pronounced dead by the doctors.

“Doctors at the hospital said initial diagnosis suggested heart attack as the cause of death; however, we have to wait for the death certificate to confirm it,” Ranjan Datta, manager of Air India, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, told Gulf News.

“We are sad that the young man’s life could not be saved despite the best efforts by the airline staff, the medical team at the airport and doctors at the hospital.”

As part of the protocol in such situations, the airline offloaded the passenger’s luggage and informed his brother in Saudi Arabia, the official said. The flight resumed its journey at 5.48pm.

According to Ahmad Shareef, a neighbour, Saleem was working as an electrician for the past 14 years in Riyadh.

He was diagnosed with a minor heart problem a few days ago and doctors had advised him to undergo further check-up and treatment in India as his medical insurance did not cover such procedures.

“He was planning to go on vacation after two months to attend the wedding of his younger sister and brother and the housewarming of his newly-constructed house,” Shareef said.

The deceased is survived by wife and two children, aged 6 and 3.

Published on 16 November 2017

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