A bereaved Indian family in Kerala, grappling with the untimely demise of their relative in the UAE capital, has received someone else's body in a shocking mix up.
29-year-old Nidhin Othayoth Kottaron died last week in Abu Dhabi. But instead of receiving his body, the Keralite family received the body of 39-year-old Kamatchi Krishnan hailing from Tamil Nadu, the Khaleej Times reported on Saturday.
A relative of Kottaron said that the family realised there was a mix up when the coffin arrived in Kerala on Friday on an Air India flight.
"His (Kottaron) parents were desperately waiting for the mortal remains since one week. They are still in a state of shock on what happened," said the relative.
Both Indian expats died two days apart but it was not clear how the mix up happened at the mortuary where both the bodies were kept, the report said.
Kottaron who was working as a site supervisor in Ruwais was found dead on July 5, while Krishnan reportedly died on July 7. The cause of death for both cases was not confirmed.
The body of Krishnan is currently kept in the mortuary at a government hospital in Kottaron's native place in Wayanad, awaiting relatives.
An Indian Embassy official said they were doing everything possible to help the families. "We are not sure how this unfortunate incident happened. Our first priority is to support the families by expediting the repatriation of the body, which is still in the mortuary."
"We had already issued required documents for repatriation. Now because of the mix up, we are coordinating with the relatives to issue a duplicate set of documents for repatriating Kottaron's body.
"Our officials at the Tamil Nadu branch Secretariat of the Ministry of External Affairs are trying to get in contact with the family members of Krishnan. Once procedures are cleared locally, they can collect the body from Kerala," the official said.
Ranjan Dutta, Air India Manager for Abu Dhabi and Al Ain sector, said: "Kottaron's body was supposed to be sent on Air India's Calicut-bound flight on Friday and Krishnan's remains were booked on an Etihad flight to Chennai on the same day. A relative of the deceased was travelling with the body. It was a human error while embalming that caused the mix up."
He said that they were awaiting clearance from the concerned authorities. "Once the documents are ready, Air India will extend full cooperation to repatriate the mortal remains at the earliest," said Dutta.