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TRAGEDY struck when a Nigerian female student identified as Meshinloye Remilekun Toyosi died aboad Egyptian Air on her way to the United Kingdom to further her studies.
SOJ WORLDWIDE Correspondent gathered that she reportedly took ill in the flight from Lagos to London via Egypt Air and died at a hospital in Cairo.
The tragic journey started on Monday when the lady departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, intending to reach her destination in London.
Her family has called for information and support to bring her body back home.
While recounting what happened, Meshioye’s elder sister Mrs. Olufunmilola Olaniyi-Alabi stated that the family had attempted to contact the airline’s customer service as well as all other phone numbers listed on their website but received no response until Wednesday.
When the call was eventually answered, they abruptly cut it off.
According to her:“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).”
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.”
A top-ranking officer with the airline, who preferred to be anonymous as the airline had not released an official statement yet, revealed that Meshioye was indeed on the flight but was taken 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 wished to remain unnamed said one of the most upsetting aspects of the tragic event was that they did not inform the family of her demise; instead, hey learnt of it from the diplomatic office in Cairo.
The family members noted that the lack of communication from the airline only heightened their shock and grief.
The family has however asked for explanations and answers from the Nigerian parastatals, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to shed light on the events leading to Remi’s death.
They called for a full inquiry into the incident and asked for advice and assistance in returning her remains to Nigeria.