Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 7 April 2020

Funeral for Dubai family who died in Nepal set for Friday

The family were on holiday in Daman when they died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning

The Indian family that died while on holiday in Nepal this week. Courtesy: Family of Praveen Nair
The Indian family that died while on holiday in Nepal this week. Courtesy: Family of Praveen Nair

An Indian family who died of suspected asphyxiation in Nepal this week will be laid to rest in their home town in Kerala on Friday.

The family were among eight Indian travellers who died of suspected carbon monoxide poisoning after a gas heater was used inside their hotel room.

With winter temperatures dipping below 4°C and malfunctioning heaters in two rooms, a gas heater from the hotel’s restaurant was moved to the room of Praveen Krishnan Nair — who lived in Dubai.

His friends, another family of three, slept in the same room because only one heater was available.

They were a very loving family who enjoyed life

Lal Nair

The group were among four families from India on holiday in Daman, a hill resort south of Kathmandu, said neighbours who spoke to The National.

“Everyone is shocked and terribly sad. It is very tragic,” said Hari, a relative speaking from Trivandrum in Kerala, where the funeral will be held.

Nair, 39, an engineer who worked with a contracting company had lived in Dubai for more than 10 years. His wife Saranya Sasi, 34, also lived in Dubai with their children Sreebhadra, 9, Aarcha, 7, Abhinav, 5, but had moved to Kochi city in Kerala to pursue a master’s degree in pharmacy two years ago.

Mr Hari said Sasi's father, Nair’s elderly parents and family were devastated by the news.

A small group of relatives went to Kathmandu to help repatriate the bodies.

Hospital staff load the bodies of Indian tourists into an ambulance for postmortem at a hospital in Kathmandu on Tuesday. Eight Indian tourists were declared dead after the group turned on a gas heater inside the room while the windows and doors were closed. AP
Hospital staff load the bodies of Indian tourists into an ambulance for postmortem at a hospital in Kathmandu on Tuesday. Eight Indian tourists were declared dead after the group turned on a gas heater inside the room while the windows and doors were closed. AP

“The four families had planned a vacation in Nepal. Praveen knew the others from their days as students in engineering college,” Mr Hari said.

“They asked for another room since the heater was not working but because it was late at night, a heater was moved up from the restaurant to one room. They were told this was a temporary arrangement until the heater was fixed.”

They were found unresponsive the next morning along with the family of Ranjith Kumar Adatholath Punathil, his wife Indu Lakshmi Peethambaran Ragalatha and their son Vyshnav Ranjith.

Punathil’s eldest son survived as he slept in the adjoining room.

“The boy was already asleep so his parents did not wake him up. Instead they took their younger son along to Praveen’s room,” Mr Hari said.

Police in Nepal told news agencies the eight tourists were flown in helicopters from the hill resort to Kathmandu, where they were declared dead at a hospital.

Nepal is a popular tourist destination for visitors from India.

Their deaths came as police in the UAE issued warnings to residents about using heaters inside their homes for fear of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The colourless, odourless gas is produced from the burning of wood, gasoline, propane or charcoal. Inhaling carbon monoxide can cause disability and death when it accumulates to dangerous levels without proper ventilation.

In Dubai, Nair’s friends and colleagues grieved for a man they described as “always happy.”

“I never saw him tensed, he was always smiling and relaxed,” said Lal Nair, a family friend who knew him for more than a decade.

“He was the kind of person who would make others happy.”

Nair lived in Dubai as a child and studied in Our Own School until grade seven, after which he went to India to complete his school and university degree. He returned to Dubai in 2008 to work.

“Our families would often visit each other especially when the children were here with Praveen,” Mr Nair said.

“They were a very loving family who enjoyed life. He had so many friends. He was the kind of person you would never forget.”

Updated: January 23, 2020 05:21 PM

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