Mohammed Faisal, 40, who was flying home from Sharjah after three years, collapsed mid air and died soon after the flight landed in Kerala on Saturday. Image Credit: Supplied

Sharjah: A 40-year-old Indian expat in the UAE, who was flying home from Sharjah after three years, collapsed mid air and died soon after the flight landed in the south Indian state of Kerala on Saturday, Gulf News has learnt.

Mohammed Faisal, father of two who worked as a driver with a bakery chain, collapsed minutes before his flight landed at Calicut International Airport where his family was waiting to receive him on Saturday morning, two of the family members said.

P.P. Singh, regional manager for Air India and Air India Express, confirmed to Gulf News that the captain of the Air India flight AI998 from Sharjah to Kozhikode reported a medical emergency when the flight was about to reach the destination. “It was very tragic. Our captain had declared a medical emergency when the passenger fell ill and conveyed a message to the ground that he needed emergency treatment on arrival. So an ambulance was provided to immediately shift the passenger to a hospital.”

Singh said a doctor on board had tried to assist Faisal after he collapsed midair. “But he was in a critical condition. He was shifted to the ambulance on a stretcher and straight away rushed to a hospital. But unfortunately he passed away after reaching hospital,” he said, offering condolences to the family.

Faisal’s cousin in Sharjah, Abdul Samad, said Faisal had been diagnosed with a brain disease.

He said Faisal had not been home for over three years.

“He wanted to go home for surgery and further treatment,” said Samad.

Speaking to Gulf News over the phone from Kerala, Vadakkathiyil Haris, another cousin of Faisal, said he had reached Calicut International Airport along with Faisal’s wife Abida and his sons Fadhi, 12, and Faaz, six, to receive Faisal.

“We were all waiting for him to come out after the flight landed. Since we didn’t see him for quite some time, we tried to reach him and his friend who also flew with him. That’s when his friend told us that Faisal was taken to hospital from the runway itself.”

Haris said the entire family was shocked and devastated. “They are inconsolable. The kids were all excited about Faisal’s arrival. He had carried so many gifts for them.”

Rasheed Moria, a neighbour and municipal councillor in Faisal’s hometown Tanur of Malappuram district, said Faisal’s death had deeply shocked and saddened the community.

“There was a huge crowd to attend his funeral on Saturday evening. He was a soft-spoken man, liked by all, but gone too soon.”