US-Bangla Plane Crash: A return no one ever expects | Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:55 AM, March 16, 2018

A return no one ever expects

Almun Nahar Annie, one of the survivors, had been refusing to go back to Bangladesh. Last night though, she finally changed her mind. Annie lost her husband FH Priok and their only child Tamarra in the BS211 crash. What does she have to go back to?

When her doctor, Rajeev Raj, told her she could return to Bangladesh, her first question was how. She no longer wanted to fly. And she wanted to know how her husband and child were doing. Why were they also not in the ICU with her and her cousins Mehedi and his wife Shwarna?

After all they had all flown to Kathmandu together and she could not understand why they were now separated. The doctor spent a few more minutes trying to convince her.

Exiting the ICU, Rajeev gathered Annie's relatives, including Mehedi who was in a neck brace. They decided that one of them would tell Annie that her husband and child had already flown back for treatment and that now she must go too. “It is better if she grieves with her family than being alone here,” he said. But getting Annie in plane would be a challenge.

A lie was told but perhaps it was an important one, a last resort of sorts.

Tomorrow, Annie, Mehedi and Mehedi's wife Shwarna will be boarding a Biman flight back to Dhaka. What will be going through Annie's mind will be anyone's guess.

Annie isn't the only one who has now grown an aversion to flying. Three other survivors also requested to be sent back by road but were denied. The doctors do not want to risk it. They believe the long journey will only complicate matters.

Shahin Bepari is also planning to return but at the moment he finds himself alone. None of his relatives has arrived yet. He looks weak and forming sentences takes a strength he no longer has. But his condition is improving. With 25 percent burns in his body, he is on the road to recovery. Doctors at Kathmandu Medical College believe he is ready to return. However, he still needs a new passport. His relative arrived just yesterday and now things are looking up.

Imran Asif, CEO of US Bangla Airlines, said the embassy was issuing manual passports and all one has to do was to go there to receive it. “We take them ourselves whenever they are ready or they can go on their own,” he said.

Rezwanul Haque, on the other hand, has already reached Singapore. Shahreen Ahmed has been flown to Dhaka.

At Norvic Hospital in Kathmandu, Eakub Ali is also undergoing the visa process and will be ready to leave soon.

But the news doesn't bode as well for all the survivors. Emrana Kabir Hashi may wish to go home but she is unable to express it. Her body is 70 percent burnt. Her dressing needs to be changed frequently. She doesn't speak. Either she cannot or maybe she does not want to. Doctors say her condition is critical. She is also in no condition to fly. Under the condition of anonymity, a doctor said he doesn't know if she will fly home to be greeted with wreaths or sombre silence. It was a telling statement of how critical her condition was.

In the hospital rooms in Kathmandu, you hope to find good stories. Stories of survival and overcoming the odds. But that is not always to be. Every story, no matter the outcome, is tinged with an indelible sadness. This is the reality of the situation. This homecoming will not be celebrated because relief is no substitute for joy.

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