Sunday, May 30, 2010

Retailers in Rolla mourn Mangalore air crash victims

23 May 2010, The Gulf Today

The retail business community in Sharjah’s Rolla Square was in a state of shock after the Air India Express passenger plane crashed outside the Mangalore Airport in South India on Saturday.
The disaster killed at least a dozen workers from Kasargod district of Kerala employed in the market, while others working there lost relatives, friends and family.
The workers had happily seen off the victims at Dubai airport on the eve of the tragedy. The ill-fated 
were the sole breadwinners of their family.
One of the crash victims, 60-year-old Abdulla Mohammed, has been working at Al Hujoon Cafeteria in Rolla for about 20 years and was well-known among the residents and business people in the area.
“He was the market’s oldest men traveled by the crashed-passenger plane. I couldn’t digest the news of his demise. Even yesterday (Friday) evening, he served us tea,” recollected a supermarket manager in the vicinity.
“Being a senior citizen, working still for his poor family back in India, Abdulla was well respected among us. He had walked into each shop and bade his friends farewell in the excitement of heading home,” he added.
“He hailed from Arikkode Kadavathu in Kumbala area of Kasaragode. He left for India this time for treatment of a range of diseases, saying that he would return if he is cured fully,” said his colleague Fahad Manayath.
“He was going home to make arrangements for his daughter’s wedding. Residents, colleagues and friends of Abdullah came searching for him at the restaurant immediately after the news of the plane crash,” he added.
Mohammed Rafi, nephew of Abdulla, an employee of Al Kabayel Toys store in Rolla, has also died in the accident.
“The day was a black Saturday for all of us,” said Mohammed Shammer, a salesman at the toys shop, who lost roommate Rafi in the crash.
“Upon knowing the tragedy, Abdulla’s son Musthafa, who also working in the same area in a supermarket adjacent to his father’s restaurant, left for India to claim the bodies and attend burial ceremonies,” said Mohammed, owner of the Al Hujun Cafeteria.
Another victim of the plane crash was Balakrishnan Mullacheri, a sales executive at Al Ameera Supermarket in the same location.
Jayanth Lal, manager of the supermarket, said, “Balakrishnan was not ready to go this time, but was forced to fly to India for the treatment to his critically-sick mother.”
“We were informed through media channels about the death of the 48-year-old Mullachery. He was a gentleman. He worked with us for more than 10 years and we would have never let him go,” said Sukhdev Patidar, the owner of the supermarket.
Many other business people and workers in Rolla have lost their friends and relatives residing in different parts of the UAE.
Staff from Sahara Centre in Rolla, Durrathul Khaleej and other shops in the market also reported cases of deaths of their staff and relatives of staff members.

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