Dubai: Mohammad Nijaz Chembai from Vellimadukunnu in Kozhikode was heartbroken on hearing that his one-year-old boy Asam Muhammed, who he had kissed goodbye on Friday afternoon had died in the Air India Express crash at the Calicut International Airport on Friday night.
His wife Shahira Bhanu (29) was seriously injured and his two other children also suffered minor injuries in the accident.
Friends were finding it difficult to comfort Nijaz, who works as an accountant for a private company in Dubai, when they got to know that his wife also later succumbed to her injuries.
They and Nijaz’s relatives sent him on a flight to Kannur on Saturday evening without informing him about her death, knowing well that he would not be able to bear that news.
The family had been living in a flat near National Paints in Sharjah for seven years.
Nijaz, however, cancelled their visas and sent them home because he feared the education of his two eldest children would be affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The trip was originally scheduled for next month. It was advanced to Friday when a home was found for the family to stay in quarantine.
Nijaz was very depressed after seeing off his family and returning home on Friday afternoon. His friends Mansoor and Jamsheer tried to cheer him up. But when he heard the news of the accident on Friday night, he was devastated. He and his friends tried calling home in Kozhikode for information about his family.
A little later, when he was told that his youngest child Asam Muhammad had died his wife was seriously injured, and his two other children had injuries, he wailed uncontrollably. His friends and relatives could not comfort him.
Nijaz then tried to reach home in Kerala as soon as possible. He got a ticket on a flight to Kannur on Saturday. As they saw him off, his friends were praying that he be given the strength to face the tragedy — not only the death of his one-year-old son but also of his wife.
The Air India Express overshot the 'table-top' runway of the Calicut airport and fell into a gorge after its tyres skidded on landing due to heavy rains, killing 18 people, including the pilots.