Bodies Of 45 Indians Who Died In Kuwait Fire Reach Kerala

Kuwait fire tragedy: Out of the 176 Indian workers in the housing facility that caught fire, 45 died and 33 are hospitalized, the Indian embassy said.

Kuwait fire incident: Union Minister Kirti Vardhan Singh is onboard the aircraft.

New Delhi:

The bodies of 45 Indian workers, who died in a massive fire in Kuwait two days ago, were brought back this morning. A special aircraft of the Indian Air Force landed in Kerala's Kochi and handed over 31 bodies of workers from three southern states. It then left for Delhi with the remaining 14 bodies.  

The victims include 23 from Kerala, seven from Tamil Nadu, three each from Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, two from Odisha, and one each from Bihar, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Haryana, said the Indian embassy in Kuwait.

The bodies handed over in Kochi, including those of workers from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, were then sent to their homes in ambulances.

The paperwork would have taken at least 10 days but the authorities were quick about it due to the instructions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said Gonda MP Kirti Vardhan Singh, who had rushed to Kuwait soon after taking charge as a junior minister in the foreign ministry.

"I would like to thank to the authorities as they did everything possible, they took all possible measures and fully cooperated in having all the papers completed, identification was done in such a short time because normally this could have taken a week or at least ten days. On PM Modi's instructions, the authorities were very quick about it," said the minister who returned today onboard the special aircraft.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, Union Minister Suresh Gopi, and former Union Minister V Muraleedharan were also present at the airport.

A massive fire erupted in a six-storied building in Mangaf city on Wednesday, killing at least 48 people. Out of the 176 Indian workers in the housing facility, 45 died and 33 are hospitalized, the embassy said. The rest are reportedly safe.

Mr Singh reached Kuwait on Thursday and visited five hospitals where the injured Indian workers are being treated. Most of them are likely to be discharged in a couple of days, he said.

During his visit, the minister also met the First Deputy Prime Minister, Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, who assured him of full support and assistance in the early repatriation of the bodies.

The bodies were charred beyond recognition and DNA testing was done on them to confirm the victims' identities, said the minister yesterday. The authorities have identified 48 bodies, among which 45 are of Indians and three are of Filipino nationality, a report quoted Mr Al-Sabah as saying.

PM Modi, who has reviewed the tragic incident, has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for those who died in the Kuwait fire.

The local administration in Kuwait is also probing how more than 160 people were staying in the building.