Friday, September 08, 2023

‘IndiGo yet to apologise… airline’s fault’: Kin of passenger killed in Santacruz hotel fire

Mumbai: Forty-year-old Kantilal Vara was on his way to Nairobi from Ahmedabad on August 26 on an IndiGo flight to join his new job. Kantilal, who was a tailor and lived in Porbandar, Gujarat, with his wife and children, had taken up the job in Nairobi for better financial prospects.

Kantilal had a series of connecting flights. His first flight was scheduled for departure from Ahmedabad at 10.35 pm on August 26 and reach Mumbai at 12.05 am that night. His second (international) flight, also on IndiGo, was scheduled to depart a couple of hours later at 2.10 am that night, reaching Nairobi by 5.40 am. However, as his flight from Ahmedabad was delayed by 45 minutes, he missed his connecting flight to Nairobi.

Following this, the airline booked Kantilal on the next flight that was scheduled to depart around 2 am on August 28 from Mumbai. As the layover period was close to 24 hours, IndiGo officials transferred him and some other passengers to Galaxy Hotel in Santacruz, which is around 1 km away from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA).

The next day (August 27), around 1.17 pm, a fire broke out in the hotel, in which Kantilal lost his life. Kishan Halai (28) and Rupal Vekaria (25), who were also travelling from Ahmedabad to Nairobi via Mumbai on the same flight and were allotted a room in that hotel also died.

It has been 10 days since the tragedy and family members of the deceased are yet to receive a formal apology from IndiGo. Also, the airline is yet to come out with a formal statement and it was only after The Indian Express contacted it on Thursday that it issued a press statement stating that the matter is currently being investigated.

08/09/2023 Pratip Acharya/Indian Express

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