x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Man who lost family still has sleepless nights

Dubai man still cannot sleep at night, a year after losing his wife and young son in the Air India crash in Mangalore that killed 158 people.

DUBAI // A year after the Air India crash in Mangalore that killed 158 people and claimed the lives of his wife and four-year-old son, Abdul Rahman still cannot sleep at night.

"It's one year but it just seems like it happened yesterday," said the employee at a shipping company in Dubai. "Every moment is difficult because I have lost the support of my life."

Mr Rahman is in India to offer his prayers on the first anniversary of the crash.

Many residents of the emirate who lost loved ones in the accident have flown back for a week to be with family.

Mr Rahman, who was married to Shahida Nusrat for 17 years, remembers all the times she waited for him after work.

"I would wait to get home to be with my son, Zeeshan and wife," he said.

"Now it's like being caged within four walls, with nothing to look forward to."

Though the anguish and misery of the victims' families has been heightened by Air India's lengthy delay in compensating them for their loss, they put those grievances aside yesterday to remember their loved ones, said Mohammed Beary, the president of the Air India Crash Victims' Families Association.

"We organised a prayer meeting at the Karnataka Theological College auditorium, which was attended by more than 350 people," said Mr Beary yesterday. "Many people came from the UAE as well. Tomorrow relatives will be conducting their own rituals at home."

Lydia Dias, a resident from Sharjah who lost her mother-in-law and sister-in-law in the crash, could not go home but will be going to church today for a mass.

"I cannot leave now because of my children's school."

Ms Dias's mother-in-law, who was 72, had been living with her in the UAE for five years at the time of the crash.

"I had grown so fond of her and even my kids, she used to take care of them," she said.

"All the things she said keep coming back to us."

It was also depressing to lose her sister-in-law at such a young age - she was 44.

"We console ourselves by saying this was God's plan and his will," she added.

In July, Ms Dias family will be going to Mangalore to visit their graves and pay their respects.

"We will be inviting relatives and neighbours and will be distributing food to the gathered in their memory."

aahmed@thenational.ae