A Nigerian student’s journey from Lagos to London onboard Egypt Air took a tragic turn when she reportedly fell sick mid-flight and died at a hospital in Cairo.
The family of the deceased, identified as Meshioye Remilekun Toyosi, is seeking answers and assistance in repatriating her remains to Nigeria.
The ill-fated journey began on Monday as the lady departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, hoping to reach her destination in London.
Meshioye’s elder sister, Mrs Olufunmilola Olaniyi-Alabi, while narrating what happened, said the family had tried to call the airline’s customer care and all other phone details on their website but no response all through Wednesday and that when the call was answered, they quickly cut it.
She said, “It was only once that a man answered the call that we put through to the Egypt Air Regional Office in London and he said the London office was not aware of what happened and they don’t have information to share with us. We then contacted the agent who sold the ticket to her and the agent sent us proof that she did not board the plane going to Heathrow from Cairo. It was at this point we intensified our efforts as regards trying to get in touch with Egypt Air.”
“The regional manager in their London office made some calls on Thursday afternoon in her office to their Cairo office. She later informed us that Remi fell sick on the plane and on landing in Cairo they rushed her to the hospital in town where she later died. Efforts to obtain more information from her were not quite successful as to how she died. She said the Nigerian embassy had been informed and they were the ones that should have contacted us. She later called the Nigerian consular (Mr Saliu Agraza).”
Speaking further, she said she felt strongly that Egypt Air should have contacted the passenger’s next of kin instead of them struggling to get information, which the airline was yet to provide as of press time.
She added, “We spoke to the Nigerian Embassy in the person of Mr Saliu Agraza, who responded that Eygpt Air only informed them on Tuesday that Remi was dead and handed over her body to them but did not have any other information or any contact of her relatives.
“Eygpt Air further said only Agraza, being the Nigerian consular, would be able to write and demand what happened on the plane, at the airport and request for all her things and documents that they have in their possession, including the CCTV footage in the plane and at the airport.
“I am of the opinion that Egypt Air is hiding some truth as to what happened to her in the plane and on landing at the airport on Monday night. They don’t want to take responsibility for what happened to Remi. As the family of Remilekun, we are demanding for her body to be returned to Nigeria by Egypt Air at their expense and they should return all her luggage to Lagos where she boarded the plane on Monday, September 4.”
Meanwhile, a top-ranking officer with the airline, who preferred not to be named as the airline was yet to release an official statement, disclosed that the deceased was indeed on the said flight but was rushed to a hospital by the airline on arrival at Cairo, Egypt.
The source said, “From the report that we received, she was sick on the flight and was reportedly transferred to the hospital in Cairo. When she died, they (the airline) informed the Nigerian Consulate in Cairo to take steps on what was required to repatriate her body to Nigeria. The airline took her to the hospital and stood as surety for her and when she passed on they informed the Nigerian Consulate in Cairo about the case. We are working on how to get her body back to Nigeria.”
Another member of the family who preferred not to be named said one of the most distressing aspects of the incident was that the family was not informed by the airline about her passing and that, instead, they received the news from the consular office in Cairo. The family members noted that the lack of communication from the airline only added to the family’s shock and grief.
The family has however demanded explanations from the Nigerian authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to shed light on the events leading to Remi’s death. They pleaded for a thorough investigation into the matter, while seeking guidance and support for repatriating her body to Nigeria.
Calls and messages made to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for reaction had yet to be responded to as of press time.
Madukwe B. Nwabuisi is an accomplished journalist renown for his fearless reporting style and extensive expertise in the field. He is an investigative journalist, who has established himself as a kamikaze reporter.