Keralite sleeps
P. Shajahan (left) with KMCC volunteer Alamsha Latheef at the Dubai International Airport on Friday Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: An Indian worker, who was eagerly waiting to be repatriated after cancelling his visa, missed a jumbo jet flying 427 stranded Indians to Kerala after he fell asleep in the Dubai International Airport on Thursday.

P. Shajahan, 53, who worked as a storekeeper with a company in Musaffah in Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News on Friday that he had fallen asleep as he had not slept on Wednesday night waiting for confirmation about the flight and had caught an early morning taxi to reach Dubai.

He was supposed to fly on the Emirates jumbo jet to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, which was chartered by the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) Dubai.

After finishing the check-in procedures and rapid test, he reached the waiting area of the boarding gate at Terminal 3 around 2pm.

“I sat away from most of the others. But I fell asleep after 4.30pm I think,” he said.

S. Nizamudeen Kollam, who coordinated the charter flight, said airline officials could not trace Shajahan when the flight was to take off. “He woke up and called us after the flight left. It is sad that he missed the flight, which was the first ever jumbo jet chartered for repatriation. We are now trying to send him on another Emirates flight that we are chartering on Saturday.”

Since Shajahan did not have any money with him, Jasimkhan Kallambalam, organising secretary of KMCC Thiruvananthapuram, went to the airport to give him some cash on Friday.

“Since his visa was cancelled, he could not come out of the airport. He had only eaten the snacks in the kit KMCC had given. We managed to give him some cash for buying food through KMCC volunteer Alamsha Latheef,” said Kallambalam.

Shajahan, who had paid Dh1,100 for the ticket, thanked the KMCC volunteers and said. “My negligence has inconvenienced many people. It was purely my fault. I am thankful for their support and will be indebted to them for trying to fly me home even after this.”

In March, Gulf News had published the story of Arun Singh, another Indian expat, who also had fallen asleep in the same terminal and missed the last flight home before flights were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He was stranded here for over 50 days before getting repatriated.