Gulf | Oman

Woman dies after loss of passport at Doha airport

Procedural delay cost stranded Indian passenger her life

  • By Sunil K. Vaidya, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 00:00 October 10, 2010
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Gulf News

Muscat:  A traumatised Indian housemaid, who was stranded in a transit lounge of Muscat airport for five days after losing her passport at the Doha airport, died while being taken to Bin Sina Psychiatric Hospital late on Friday.

The passenger, identified as Beebi Lumada, 40, was travelling from Muscat to Chennai via Doha by Qatar Airways last Sunday but lost her passport while in transit at the Doha airport.

"When her passport was not found, she was sent back to the port of origin — Muscat," a Qatar Airways' official told Gulf News on the condition of anonymity. He said that the airline followed the regulations in sending her back to the place of origin.

The housemaid had cancelled her Oman residence visa and was returning home. Since she didn't carry her passport, she was not allowed to re-enter Muscat by Oman's immigration authorities.

"We informed immigration about the situation and also intimated the Indian Embassy on Monday," he added.

"We were given repeated assurances that the embassy officials would come and visit the stranded passenger but there was no visit even after requests from the airport police," the airline officials said. The airline even tried in vain to contact the stranded passenger's sponsor.

He said that since Muscat Airport does not have a hotel in the transit area, Qatar Airways provided food, drinks, a blanket and all the necessary help to make Beebi comfortable.

Yesterday, the stranded passenger allegedly began to get delusional. "We first took her to the airport clinic but her condition seemed to be getting worse," he revealed.

The airline then decided to take her to the Bin Sina Psychiatric Hospital. "As she was being taken to hospital, she died in the ambulance," he added.

Mental trauma

A senior doctor with the government hospital said that it is possible that the severe mental trauma caused a cardiac arrest.

Meanwhile, Indian ambassador Anil Wadhwa told Gulf News that it was sad that Lumada lost her life before an exit pass could be issued for her departure. "It is sad that procedural delay delayed help for the stranded passenger," he said.

He added that the mission had asked immigration authorities to send a lost passport report as there was no access for embassy staff to the stranded passenger at the airport.

"We were even told that she would be brought to the embassy for a signature to formalise her exit pass," he said, adding that weekend delayed that visit further.

"We are now in touch with her kin in India and we will ensure that her body is sent back respectfully," he added.

He revealed that Lumada, who joined her sponsor in last August, suffered from seizures and hysteria.

"That was the reason her sponsor sent her back within two months," he said.

The sponsor was not answering the calls made to him on the number in the immigration system.

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