Around 242 Indian passengers, who were stranded following the Brussel attacks, were brought back to the country three days after the terror strike.
The rescued members included 28 Jet Airways crew members. They were brought via recovery flight 9W 1229 from Amsterdam which landed in Delhi on March 25 morning. While 155 passengers deboarded at Delhi, 69 were taken to Mumbai. “The flight 9W 1229 carrying 214 passengers, including 69 bound for Mumbai, along with 28 Jet Airways crew members landed at IGI airport at 5.10 AM,” a Jet Airways spokesperson said.
The passengers came only with their handbags and their luggage will be returned to them after few days.
While narrating their ordeal, a 22-year-old Afshah Rajkotwala said
“I was talking to my father Amin over WiFi at Zaventem airport when something went wrong at the terminal. Though I did not hear the blasts, moments later I saw people running away. I ran out with only my handbag carrying basic utilities and checked into a hotel in Brussels.”
Though her parents couldn’t establish contact with her on the first day, a day later they spoke to the Indian embassy who then took her to Amsterdam.
“But there was no contact from Indian officials at all the first day,” Amin said, adding that helpline numbers were not working either.
Another passenger Pradeep Sharma said they were helped by local authorities and complained that the Indian embassy did not take any responsibility.
“Camps were set up by local authorities. They made good arrangements,” he told NDTV. Jaideep Karande, 24, who was on his way to India via Belgium, was stuck at the airport after the terror attack. His family was worried all the while due to lack of proper communication with him. “We see it only in the news when terror attacks happen somewhere else, sympathise and forget it. Now I know how it feels to be in the middle of this,” said Digambar Karande, Jaideep’s father.
On March 22, two explosions rocked Brussels airport killing 14 people and injuring many. After a short while, 20 people were killed in a blast at a metro station in the city.
Six people have been arrested in the case. Recalling the day the blasts happened, Chandan Ghai, said, “The departure area of the airport was completely destroyed. Hundreds of people were running out for shelter. There was blood everywhere. We were really scared.”