Monday, August 10, 2020

Kozhikode Plane Crash: Civilian Volunteers, Asked to Quarantine, Say 'No Regrets'

Kozhikode: From Friday evening to the early hours of Saturday, Shabeer, Irshad and many others in Kondotty, Malappuram, did not have a minute to rest. But now, they are relaxed, spending time on their mobiles and getting enough sleep, as they are in quarantine.

Shabeer and Irshad are two of the several civilian volunteers who were actively involved in the rescue operations to save passengers after an Air India Express fight was crashed at the Kozhikode airport on Friday.

The deadly plane accident could have been led to even more fatalities if there was no quick and effective rescue operation undertaken by local volunteers. While congratulating the locals for their timely intervention, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “The fast response of local people and officials made all the difference. They braved bad weather and COVID-19 fears to rescue their fellow beings.”

A day and a half later, almost all of those volunteers are in quarantine. While many are isolating at home, others, like Shabeer and Irshad, who do not have sufficient space at home, are quarantining in a school, a special quarantine facility that has been arranged for many volunteers.

The P.P.M. Higher Secondary School, Kottukkara, where the quarantine facility has been arranged, is near the accident site. More than 30 volunteers are now living at the school.
Shabeer, a young man from Kondotty, Malappuram, said it will be difficult for him not to go outside for the next few days. “It will affect my family financially and my parents emotionally,” he said. However, he said he never regrets that he participated in the rescue service.

Irshad, who is also in quarantine at the school, gives the same response. Asked about his feeling about the quarantine, he said he is “thankful to the God that we could help those injured who were desperately in need”.
They said the volunteers were not concerned about COVID-19 at the time of the rescue operation. “We were not worried about the COVID-19 at the time of the rescue service, not at all,” they said. “For a moment we forgot ourselves.”

Several volunteers came to know about the accident through WhatsApp forwards. Irshad said when he first heard the sound of the crash, he thought it might be a landslide somewhere nearby, because it was raining heavily. “But later, we got a WhatsApp message about the accident.”

Both of them have barely been home after the accident. While Irshad never returned home at all, Shabeer stayed at home on Friday night and quickly reached the quarantine centre on Saturday morning.
10/08/20 Muhammed Sabith/Wire
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