It was an emotional homecoming for the first batch of Indians stuck in terror-struck Belgium arrived from Amsterdam on Friday morning at Mumbai airport.
The flight 9W 1229 carrying 214 passengers left the Schiphol airport in the Dutch capital around 10pm on Thursday night. The flight stopped by at Delhi, before arriving in the city.
“The arrival terminal was filled with people exchanging hugs, posing for group selfies and a few of them also broke down,” said an airport official.
Powai resident Sakshi Singh, who was stuck in Brussels for two days, arrived with her husband. “My parents are flying down from Delhi to see us. They were extremely worried for us,” said Singh. She had joined her husband for a vacation in the US and got stuck at Brussels during a stopover. “The blasts happened soon after we landed in Brussels,” she added.
According to officials most Indians were flown out of Brussels, but some passengers waited for subsequent flights as they had no baggage with them. A Jet Airways spokesperson confirmed that a few passengers chose to stay back at the hotel in Belgium as they did not wish to travel without their bags. “Since the airport is still shut we have no access to the bags,” said the spokesperson.
“We were told that our checked-in bags would be flown within the next two weeks,” said Prasad Patil, another Mumbai resident who got stuck at the Belgium capital since the serial bombings on Tuesday. With telephones shut for almost a day after the attacks hundreds of survivors’ kind had gathered at the airport’s T2 terminal on Friday morning.
“It was quite traumatic for our families here as no calls could be made or received in Brussels. But I was lucky to have been able to drop a message to my mother as the internet on my phone was intermittently available,” added Singh.
Airline officials said that passengers’ loads were low as the airline is schedule to shift its global hub from Brussels to Amsterdam on March 27. The airline spokesperson added that both the flight attendants injured in the attacks were stable and recuperating well. “Our staff and their family members are with them and they are getting the necessary medication and care,” the spokesperson added.