'Will call you when I land,' Indian texted husband before Ethiopian plane crash

Shikha Garg, who was travelling to attend the annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, had got married less than three months ago to Soumya Bhattacharya after dating for three years.

Published: 12th March 2019 07:23 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th March 2019 07:37 PM   |  A+A-

MoEF consultant, Ethiopia plane crash

Shikha Garg, a consultant with the Ministry of Environment and Forests was travelling to attend the UNEP meeting in Nairobi. (Photo | @Shikha_UN/Twitter)

By AFP

NEW DELHI: An Indian newly-wed who died in the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines plane crash had texted her husband she would call him on landing, local media reported Tuesday.

Shikha Garg, who was travelling to attend the annual assembly of the UN Environment Programme, had got married less than three months ago to Soumya Bhattacharya after dating for three years.

Bhattacharya was also supposed to fly with her to Nairobi but a last-minute change in plans meant he stayed back in New Delhi, the mass-circulation Times of India reported.

"I have boarded the flight and will call you once I land," Garg texted.

But before the husband could type a reply, his phone buzzed and a caller informed him about the plane crash, the newspaper said.

Bhattacharya had also bought a flight ticket for Nairobi but cancelled it because of an urgent meeting.

The couple, who lived in New Delhi, had instead planned a vacation after Garg's return from Nairobi.

On Monday Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said she was unable to get in touch with Garg's family and appealed for help on Twitter.

Later she said she had managed to speak to Garg's bereaved family members as well as those of other three Indians who died in the crash.

Garg was a consultant with the Indian environment ministry and had taken part in the negotiations leading to the 2015 Paris climate accord.

The Nairobi-bound Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed just minutes after an early-morning takeoff Sunday from Addis Ababa.

People holding passports from 35 countries were on board including some two dozen UN staff.

The aircraft was the same type as the Indonesian Lion Air plane that crashed in October, killing 189 passengers and crew.

The latest crash has prompted airlines across the world to begin withdrawing the model from schedules.

Indian regulators Monday ordered additional maintenance checks on Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes but ruled out any immediate grounding of the fleet.

India's Spicejet and Jet Airways together operate 17 of the planes. 

Jet, which has had to ground parts of its fleet in recent weeks due to its financial woes, said none of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft was operational at present.

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