Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Three years after Karipur plane crash, survivors pool money to renovate health centre

On August 7, 2020, when an Air India Express flight crashed at the Calicut International Airport killing 21 people, what followed on ground was testimony to humanity’s unending compassion in the face of a harrowing tragedy. That night, even as the pandemic loomed dark over their heads, hundreds of residents rushed to the site of the accident in Karipur, acting as first respondents alongside the fire and rescue personnel, police, and airport authorities, saving multitudes of lives. 

The project is now finally becoming a reality, with the foundation stone for the new building laid on Monday, August 7, on the third anniversary of the crash. The work, facilitated by a non-governmental charitable organisation called the Malabar Development Forum (MDF), is expected to be completed over the next six months.

Abdurahiman Edakkuni, general secretary of the MDF and chairperson of its subsidiary Charitable Foundation, told TNM that around 400 people who resided close to the airport had rushed to the aid of the aggrieved passengers on the night of the accident. “The surviving passengers as well as the families of those who passed away wanted to set aside a fraction of the compensation they received as insurance, to express gratitude to the people who came to their rescue. The good people of Kondotty had even forgotten that they were braving a pandemic while running to help them,” he said.

While contemplating how they can do something for the town, the passengers came to know that there was a Family Health Centre near the airport, which though visited by hundreds of people everyday, had little more than basic facilities. “There is a Scheduled Caste colony with around a thousand residents in the area, and this is the only close healthcare facility they have available. That’s why the passengers decided to give their money for its renovation. Some of them have told us that they want to do more for the people, and we will plan and take those steps eventually,” Abdurahiman said.

The passengers and their families, including the 21 who died and the 169 who were injured, received their complete insurance settlements from the airlines over the past two years. “We are very glad an action forum formed under the MDF was able to play a significant part in it. It has been around 13 years since the Mangalore air crash, and many of the survivors still haven’t received their insurance,” Abdurahiman added.

Safwan, whose family was on board the Boeing 737 flight, told TNM that ever since the passengers were on the road to recovery, they have all been wanting to do something special for the people of Kondotty. So eventually they created a WhatsApp group, selected a few representatives from among themselves, and laid out a plan of action to do their bit for the people of Kondotty as well. 

09/08/2023 Lakshmi Priya/News Minute

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