THE cause of death of a young Nigerian lady, Remilekun Toyosi Meshioye, onboard an Egyptian airline connecting Egypt to the United Kingdom has remained sketchy.
Remilekun reportedly took the flight, EgyptAir MS 876, from the Murtala Muhammad International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, on Monday, September 4.
She was travelling on a student visa and was expected to get to Egypt and connect to London using another EgyptAir MS777 flight the following day, Tuesday, September 5.
She reportedly died in Egypt, but her family said she died en route from Nigeria, and the airline allegedly dropped her corpse off in Cairo, Egypt’s capital.
According to the International Air Transport Association’s Medical Manuel (March 2015) on the handling of deaths on board, close cooperation needs to be established with national governments and airport authorities to ensure that procedures are properly communicated to ground staff when a serious medical emergency has occurred on board, resulting in the death of a passenger, The ICIR can report.
EgyptAir is a national airline of Egypt, based in the cosmopolitan city of Cairo, operating since May 7, 1932.
Family alleged foul play, demands daughter’s corpse
A statement on Friday, September 8, signed by the elder sister of the deceased, Olufunmilola Olaniyi-Alabi, blamed the airline for not contacting the family earlier about the death of their daughter.
According to Olaniyi-Alabi, the family got to know after a message from the consular office in Cairo informing them of the death of their daughter on board the flight.
The family demands to know what caused her death and how to return her corpse to Nigeria.
“My sister left Lagos for the UK on Monday at 14:00 via Egyptair line and eventually died during her transit from Lagos to Cairo, according to the little information we got,” she said.
EgyptAir failed to contact family
Olaniyi-Alabi asserted that the deceased’s family made several efforts to contact EgyptAir customer care without success.
“It was only once that a man picked up the call that we put through to the EgyptAir Region Office in London, and he said the London office was unaware of what happened and they didn’t have information to share with us.
“So we were left with no choice but to report to the UK Police Department on Wednesday, and they later confirmed that our sister was not in the UK. They advised us to contact Cairo or Lagos airports. We 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,” she said.
Olaniyi-Alabi travelled to London (Heathrow) on Wednesday night and arrived in London on Thursday morning.
She and the deceased’s husband, residing in Leeds, demanded to see the EgyptAir regional manager in their London office, who made some calls on Thursday afternoon in her office to the airline’s Cairo office.
“She later informed us that Remi fell sick in the plane, and on landing in Cairo, they rushed her to the hospital in town, where she later died,” said Olaniyi-Alabi.
She stressed that efforts to obtain more information from the Cairo office were not entirely successful regarding the cause of Remilekun’s death.
She explained that the Cairo office said it had informed the Nigerian Embassy and was in the position to have contacted the family.
“I strongly feel that EgyptAir should have contacted us as the passenger’s next of kin against us struggling to get information, which, as of this time that I am writing, they are yet to provide.
“We spoke to the Nigerian Embassy in the person of Saliu Agraza, who responded that EgyptAir 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,” noted the deceased’s sister.
The EygptAir office further told them that only the Nigerian Embassy would write and demand what happened on the plane and at the airport to Remilekun and request all her belongings, including the CCTV footage in the aircraft and at the airport.
Olaniyi-Alabi, however, alleged that EgyptAir was hiding the truth of what happened to her sister on the plane and landing at the airport on Monday night and did not want to take responsibility for what happened to Remilekun.
“As a family of Remilekun, we are demanding for her body to be returned to Nigeria by EgyptAir at their own expense, and they should return all her luggage to Lagos, where she boarded the plane on Monday 4th of September,” she maintained.
Remilekun reportedly sick
In a statement, EgyptAir said the deceased reported being sick when she arrived at the transit area while the airport quarantine department was called to check her.
After the checkup, she was recommended to be hospitalised before she passed away.
“The Airport authorities cleared and stamped her into the country and transferred her to hospital.
One Mr Tarek from the Public Relations Department at the Nigerian embassy in Cairo was contacted and was informed about the case,” the airline stated.
The procedure to evacuate the body back home, however, would be provided by the Nigerian embassy in Cairo, the airline added.