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Kerala baby who died mid-air cremated; was 'happily playing' before flight

10-month-old Gulf Air passenger, Rishi Priya Binoy, who died mid-air during a flight from Kochi to Manama, Bahrain. (Supplied)

By VM Sathish

The 10-month-old Gulf Air passenger, Rishi Priya Binoy, who died mid-air during a flight from Kochi to Manama, Bahrain, was buried in her hometown, Ampalloor Trichur, on Wednesday morning, leaving the family members and the expatriate community in deep sorrow.

The baby’s body was repatriated in a Gulf Air flight form Abu Dhabi via Manama to Kochi at around 3.30am on Wednesday and the funeral took place in the family premises in Kodali, Ampalloor, Trichur district Kerala at 8am today (Wednesday).

Speaking to Emirates 24|7, family members of the baby said they are were saddened to receive the dead body of the child, who was cheerful and happy, a few days ago while boarding her first flight to Manama with her mother – the baby’s maiden trip to Bahrain to be with her father.

“We are all saddened by the shocking death of the baby in the flight. The baby was born in Kerala about 10 months ago and her heart problem was noticed five months after her birth.

"She was treated in the Amritha Hospital, Kochi where she underwent a heart surgery about five months ago,” said Shammy, brother of the baby’s father, Binoy Mundakkal, who arrived in Kerala with the body this morning.

“After treatment, the mother and the baby girl were planning to travel to Bahrain last November, but the trip was postponed due to the winter season in the Gulf.

"Two weeks before boarding the flight, we sought advice from the doctor, who certified that the baby was fit to travel to Bahrain,” said Shammy. “We have the medical certificate from the doctor about the baby’s fitness to travel,” he said.

Shammy added that the baby appeared normal before the flight and was happily playing with the family members. Even though she had fever before travelling, doctor advised the family to go ahead with the travel plan.

“After boarding the flight, the baby started crying and the situation deteriorated one hour before landing at the Abu Dhabi Airport at 8.10am UAE time on Monday, after the flight was diverted to the nearest airport. There was a nurse in the airline who tried her bit to treat the baby.

"The baby was crying and apparently had breathing problems,” said Prajeep Chandran, a college mate of the baby’s father, who was with the family members to repatriate the baby’s remains.

Friends and well-wishers continued to offer condolences to the family through social networking sites.

The flight was diverted to Abu Dhabi because the crew members could not confirm whether the baby was alive or dead.

On landing, doctors at the Mafraq Hospital, Abu Dhabi confirmed that the baby was already dead and a death certificate issued by Abu Dhabi police said the baby’s death as ‘Infant Sudden Death’,” Prajeep Chandran added.

“For two days, the mother was in shock and remained silent, occasionally weeping. However, once she saw other family members, she almost collapsed,” Prajeep added.

“I took tickets for the family for repatriating the body, but Gulf Air offered free tickets to the family.

The couple was in Bahrain and when Aswani was seven months pregnant, she went to Kerala for delivery and the baby was diagnosed with a heart valve problem when she was five-months-old.

Her father was in Kerala during the heart surgery and was keenly awaiting the baby’s homecoming to Bahrain where he has been working for 10 years.