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An Irish man unexpectedly died in Greece on May 22nd. His body was flown to Dublin for his funeral, but it was never unloaded from the plane and was flown back to Greece on the same aircraft it arrived on.
The Independent reports that coffin was loaded on to an Aegean Airlines flight at Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH) and headed for Dublin Airport (DUB). The man’s family was waiting in Dublin with a hearse and had made funeral arrangements. Somehow, the coffin was never unloaded and it traveled back to Athens.
Swissport handles ground operations at Dublin Airport and this is clearly their error. They managed to get the body back to Dublin on another airline on May 23rd. Swissport released the following statement:
We are deeply sorry for the family’s experience at such a difficult time and did everything we could to ensure things were resolved as quickly as possible. We are now conducting an urgent investigation to make sure lessons are learned.”
I’m not sure how you misplace a coffin. Aegean operates a fleet of midsize and smaller jets (there are no Airbus A380s or Boeing 777s here). It should not have been that hard to see the coffin in the cargo hold of an Airbus A320. The airport turned the plane in 50 minutes and apparently the corpse got lost in the shuffle.
Anthony’s Take: I feel for the poor family that had to go through this situation. This is not just cargo and should have been handled with more care. I’m glad they were able to reunite the family with their deceased loved one and hopefully this will improve some internal processes for the future.
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