DUBAI: In an tragic twist of fate, the body of one of the two Indian students, who were killed in a car crash in Dubai after the friends’ reunion, was repatriated on a flight he was booked to fly home alive.
Sharat Kumar, 21, and Rohit Krishnakumar, 19, who were studying in universities in the United States and United Kingdom, respectively, met with the tragic end while Sharat was dropping Rohit home after meeting a few other Dubai-based friends on Christmas Eve.
Friends and relatives bid a tearful adieu to the youngsters at the embalming unit of the Medical Fitness Centre in Muhaisnah yesterday evening.
At the time of going to press, their mortal remains were taken to Dubai International Airport for repatriation to the south Indian state of Kerala, where their cremation will be held today.
Sharat’s body was to be flown on an Emirates flight at 9.40pm yesterday to Thiruvananthapuram, while Rohit’s body was scheduled to be repatriated on another Emirates flight to Kochi at 2.30am today.
Dozens of friends and relatives were accompanying the two grieving families.
A family friend told Gulf News that Sharat was supposed to be on the same flight along with his mother and grandmother. “They had booked the tickets on the same flight to Kerala and join his father there. It is heartbreaking that we are sending off his body on the same flight.”
Vow of penance
As per the family’s initial plan, he said, Sharat and his father were scheduled to go on a pilgrimage to the Sabarimala temple on Friday. Sharat is believed to have been observing a vow of penance, a relative said. “He had arrived from the US on Tuesday and had gone out with friends, saying they would eat out.”
The family friend said Sharat had hardly spent any time at home after arriving from the US. “He shared the joy of scoring good grades with his mother and grandmother and soon he went out to meet his friends.”
He suspected that Sharat might have been suffering from jetlag and dozed off while driving back home.
A Dubai Police official said the accident took place around 3am on Wednesday. “The driver lost control of the vehicle and hit a pavement before the car crashed into a tree and both of them died on the spot.”
According to the family friend, the accident took place inside The Gardens community where the youngsters’ families lived.
Naseer Vatanappally, a social worker who assisted the families in completing legal formalities for the repatriation, said the death certificates mentioned that the death was caused by ‘crushing injuries involving multiple organs’ due to traffic accident.
Book of memories
Rashmi Nandkeolyar, principal of Delhi Private School Dubai, where the victims had studied earlier, told Gulf News over phone from India that the school was grieving with the families and would offer emotional support to them. She said the school is preparing a book of memories for the two boys.
“We have already started collecting notes, poems photographs and notebooks from teachers and students. We will gift them to the parents.”
She said the vice-principal and some teachers visited the bereaved families at their homes.
“It is heartbreaking for the parents and for the school. It is incomprehensible how the accident could have happened in the narrow roads of the community. At this moment we are grieving along with the families. We are trying our best to support them emotionally as much as we can.”
She said many teachers had fond memories about the former students
“Both the boys were bright children. Sharat had left the school some years ago. But Rohit was with us. His mother, Geethu Krishnakumar, was a teacher in our school for many years. His older brother was also our alumnus. The family has been close to us.”
Like his brother Rahul, Rohit, who was a second year medicine student in University of Manchester, was an all-rounder in academics and co-curricular activities, and had won the Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance.
Sharat had later continued his schooling in The International School of Choueifat in Dubai and The Doon School in Dehradun in India. Later, he joined The Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University in the US for studying international relations and business management.