Nepal plane crash: Grieving families wait long for last remains

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : After receiving the stunning news of the deaths of dear ones in Sunday’s plane crash in Nepal, grieving families now face the ordeal of a long wait for their last remains. Ten of the dead were Indians.

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The Tribhuban University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu, where the autopsies began on the 19 bodies Sunday, said the process would not be over before Monday night.

The last remains would be handed over only after the entire examination and formalities are over, probably Tuesday, the hospital said.

Only the families of the six Nepalis killed during the mountain flight crash and the kin of an Indian doctor couple had arrived in Kathmandu.

The majority of the relatives are coming from Trichy town in India’s Tamil Nadu state, which lost eight builders in Sunday’s crash.

The Indian embassy in Kathmandu said their family members had reached New Delhi and were proceeding to Kathmandu.

On Sunday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa asked Trichy’s member of parliament P. Kumar to coordinate the efforts to bring back the bodies of the eight builders from the state killed in the crash. She also sent state Animal Husbandry Minister N.R. Sivapathy to meet the grieving families.

The stricken town would not be able to bid its sons their last farewell before Wednesday or even Thursday, according to indications here.

The bodies of the Indian doctor couple, Pankaj Mehta and Chaya Mehta, are likely to be administered the last rites in Kathmandu.

Their elder son Keyur, who is studying medicine at the B.P. Koirala Institute of Medical Sciences in eastern Nepal, arrived in Kathmandu Sunday evening after being apprised of the news.

Nepali airline Buddha Air’s mountain flight to the Everest region Sunday crashed in Kotdanda in the Kathmandu Valley, killing all 19 people on board.

Those who perished included the three member cabin crew from Nepal, 10 Indians, mostly from Trichy, three Nepali passengers, two Americans and a Japanese.

Buddha Air said it had initiated an internal investigation into the cause of the crash while the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal has formed a three-member inquiry committee headed by its former chief Rajesh Raj Dali.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at [email protected])