Angels descend in M'lore

Members of Special Assistance Team are reaching out to people

Angels descend in M'lore

The members of this Special Assistance Team (SAT) are spotted almost at all places in Mangalore, ever since the tragedy. They are at the mortuary reaching out to relatives of victims to identify bodies, at the hospitals where they console the survivors, help relatives from outstation with regards to accommodation, transport and guidance. For the last four days, they are helping the relatives and the survivors in all possible ways.

Record performance

The Angels ran a helpdesk since 4 pm on Saturday at the Mangalore airport and have set a record by winding up its operations successfully by Tuesday.  According to an official AI spokesperson, they have accomplished this task in just four days, what normally takes up to a month. They were able to do it only because the Angels already knew what to do and how to do. They are all well-trained to deal with an emergency, he added.

The SAT, dubbed as Angels of Air India, was conceived a year ago as an emergency assistance cell, which was mandatory to obtain International Operations and Safety Audit (IOSA) certification.  It consists of AI staff, who volunteer to act out the part of an Angel in case of an emergency. They are trained to handle crisis, in the form of mock drills.

150 volunteers

Around 150 such volunteers under the leadership of Wing Commander A K Verma have been assigned to Mangalore after the air crash on Saturday. So far they have been taking care of the mortuaries, the survivors and family members of outstation victims, day in and day out. Now that most of the bodies have been claimed and handed over to the relatives and the rest awaiting DNA report, they have set up a claim facilitation centre at Mangalore AI office in Lalbagh, for the relatives of the victims, where they scrutinise the documents and create enough data for insurance purposes.

Quick reaction teams like Angels of Air India are inevitable to deal with disastrous situations like the one in Mangalore. It’s success should be an inspiration to other organisations like the KSRTC, to set up similar teams, he added.

Claims of interim relief

The AI spokesperson told Deccan Herald that the relatives of the victims have started making claims of interim relief.  The format of application for the claims has been furnished on the AI website. It is also available with various travel agencies and AI offices. The Angels will help the claimants get the right documents and file it. The documents will be then sent to the AI’s Legal cell in Mumbai, where the final decision as to who is the legal claimant will be made. “The process will take around a month, but according to the law,” he said.

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