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Boy dies after Maldives President denies approval to his family for Indian aircraft emergency airlift: Report
Image Credit: Mohamed Muizzu X page

Boy dies after Maldives President denies approval to his family for Indian aircraft emergency airlift: Report

| @indiablooms | 21 Jan 2024, 10:23 am

New Delhi/IBNS: A 14-year-old Maldivian boy died on Saturday amid allegations that President Mohamed Muizzu denied permission to his family for the use of an Indian Dornier aircraft that could have potentially saved his life if airlifted on time, local media reported.

A Dornier aircraft, produced by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and provided by India, has been used extensively in the island nation for humanitarian purposes.

The family of the teen, who is battling a combination of a brain tumour and a stroke, desperately sought an air ambulance to airlift him from the remote island of Wilmington in Gaaf Alif Villingili to Maldives capital Male, where he could have got advanced medical care, the report said.

The incident happened on Wednesday night when the child suffered a stroke, prompting his family to request an aerial transfer to the capital.

However, their distress calls went unanswered until Thursday morning, when the country's aviation authorities finally responded. The delay, reportedly lasting 16 crucial hours, sparked protests near the hospital in Gaaf Alif Villingili.

"We called Island Aviation to get him to Male immediately after the stroke but they did not answer our calls. They answered the phone at 8:30 am on Thursday. The solution is to have an air ambulance for such cases," the father told local media outlet Adhahu.

He was finally transferred to Male but by then the child's health was rapidly deteriorating. Upon arrival, the boy was immediately admitted to an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Aasandha Company Limited, the company responsible for medical evacuations, issued a statement indicating that they had initiated the evacuation process promptly upon receiving the request. However, they cited a last-minute "technical glitch", leading to a delay.

"It is with deep regret that we acknowledge the unfortunate passing of the patient involved in the emergency medical evacuation incident from GA Vilingili on January 18, 2024. The entire management and staff of Aasandha Company extend our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. Our thoughts and prayers go out to them, seeking solace in Allah (SWT) for the departed's eternal rest in Jannatul Firdaus," the company said in a statement.

Local Maldivian media reported protests outside the hospital where the child died.

"People shouldn't have to pay with their lives to satisfy the President's animosity towards India," Maldives MP Meekail Naseem posted on X.

The incident comes against the backdrop of strained diplomatic relations between India and Maldives.

The diplomatic ties between both countries hit a new low recently after Maldivian Minister Mariyam Shiuna’s disparaging comments on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a "clown" and "puppet" in posts on X, which have since been deleted.

The tweets were removed following criticism and backlash on the micro-blogging site.

The row erupted also under the shadow of strained India-Maldives ties after President Mohamed Muizzu, who is seen as a pro-China politician, came to power.


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