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Passenger on Saudi-India flight dies in Abu Dhabi

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Passenger on Saudi-India flight dies in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi: A passenger flying home to India from Saudi Arabia died in an Abu Dhabi hospital on Wednesday. The plane made an emergency landing in the UAE capital after he complained of discomfort.

Air India Express flight IX-322 from Riyadh to Calicut landed at Abu Dhabi airport at 3.51pm after the passenger, Mohammad Saleem, 35, complained of discomfort, Ranjan Datta, manager of Air India, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, told Gulf News.

Saleem, a native of Malappuram in Kerala, died in an Abu Dhabi hospital.

The medical team at the airport responded quickly to the emergency and the patient was rushed to Mafraq Hospital where he was pronounced dead, the official said.

“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,” Datta said. “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. “Our station manager in Calicut is in touch with the deceased’s family and we are doing everything to support them. The Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi was also informed,” Datta said.

When Gulf News contacted Saleem’s brother in Riyadh, he was not in a position to speak due to being in a state of shock. A neighbour, Ahmad Shareef, informed Gulf News that Saleem was working as an electrician for 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, Shareef said.

“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,” he said.

Shareef said that Saleem was happy to bring forward his six-month vacation plans and was perfectly well while preparing for travel. His wife and two children, aged 6 and 3, and other family members in India were looking forward to meeting him earlier than expected. “We never imagined that their happiness and hopes would be shattered like this,” Shereef said.

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