Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 September 2020

Sharjah family devastated by death of mother in Dubai-Kerala plane crash

Zhenobia Ali's two sons survived the deadly plane crash and are now being treated in a hospital

A Sharjah family has spoken of the tragic death of a mother of three in the Air India Express flight from Dubai to Kozhikode that crash landed on Friday.

Her two sons survived the plane crash and are now being treated in a hospital.

Sharjah resident Zhenobia Ali, 40, was travelling to Kozhikode with her sons Azam Ali, 15 and Ahmed Ali, 5, to spend time with her elder daughter, 19, who is studying in Kerala.

Tragedy struck the family when Flight IX-1344 skidded off the runway and broke apart in a gorge below the runway located on a tabletop plateau.

The condition of the boys is stable and they are being treated for fractures in a Kozhikode hospital, relatives and friends told The National.

Their father Mohammed Ali, a manager with a UAE shipping company, left for India on Saturday on an emergency ticket issued by the consulate in Dubai.

The family is trying to cope with the tragedy. It is the most terrible news

Asif, a family friend

“The family is trying to cope with the tragedy. It is the most terrible news,” said Asif, a family friend who resides in Sharjah but did not want to disclose his full name.

“The children are okay. One has a fractured hand, the other has a fracture in the leg. They have spoken to their father.

“Zhenobia travelled to India with the boys because she wanted to be with her daughter who she had not seen since the Covid-19 lockdown.”

The Ali family has lived in the UAE for more than 20 years.

Their daughter was with her grandparents in Kozhikode during nationwide stay-home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“Before Covid-19, the parents would shuttle between Sharjah and Kerala so they could spend time with their children,” Mr Asif said.

“We are all from the same neighbourhood back home. Relatives and friends have been with Ali since we heard of the crash to give as much support as we can.”

The recent Eid celebration was the last time friends in the UAE met the Ali family when they went out for a meal.

More than 100 passengers are being treated in four government and private hospitals in Calicut, another name for Kozhikode city.

For another Sharjah resident, a delayed medical certificate saved her life.

When seven-months pregnant Jasleen Umer realised a fit-to-fly report would not be delivered in time, she cancelled a booking that would have placed her among the 184 passengers on board the Air India Express flight.

Sharjah residents Jasleen Umer with her husband Ejaz Umer. Jasleen cancelled a booking that would have placed her among the 184 passengers on board the Air India Express flight. Courtesy: Ejaz Umer
Sharjah residents Jasleen Umer with her husband Ejaz Umer. Jasleen cancelled a booking that would have placed her among the 184 passengers on board the Air India Express flight. Courtesy: Ejaz Umer

“I’m shocked and feel a little blank and numb,” said the 28-year-old.

She has been receiving frantic calls from relatives who thought she was on the ill-fated flight.

“People have been calling us because they thought I had left. We know a person in a nearby town who died in the crash. I’m very nervous to fly and very worried about taking a flight now,” she said.

Ejaz Umer said he was relieved his wife did not board the plane but grieved for people who lost loved ones.

“I cannot explain what I feel because I’m still shaken by the news,” he said.

“I feel thankful Jasleen was not on the flight. She realised she would get the pregnancy medical certificate only on the morning of the flight and that might have been too late.

"We are so relieved that we cancelled the booking. We are also praying for the families who lost their loved ones.”

Ms Umer is scheduled to fly out to Kerala on Sunday so she can deliver their first child in India.

“We are nervous about her taking any flight now but she needs to fly because of the care she will get at home when she delivers,” he said.

“We have been watching the news about the crash. We feel lucky but we are thinking of the affected families.”

Updated: August 8, 2020 06:17 PM

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