Mumbai throngs airport, hospital for glimpse of 500-kg Egyptian
Eman Ahmed arrives at Saifee Hospital on Satruday morning after landing in Mumbai at 4.15 am. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Housebound for 25 years, 37-year-old Eman Ahmed Abdulati could not get enough of the sights and sounds of Mumbai after she landed in the city at 4.15 am on Saturday. She was seen beaming as she held on to her sister Shaima's hand, unmindful of the stares of hundreds of curious Mumbaikars who had thronged the airport and Saifee Hospital for a glimpse of her.
"We saw her picture on TV. Is she really 500 kg? How did she survive so long? It is really a proud moment for us that this woman came all the way from Egypt to Mumbai for her treatment," said Salim Mallik, one of those who had come for a glimpse of Eman. Shaima, too, seemed overwhelmed by the welcome her sister got. "I am so excited to be able to come to Mumbai. But, there are so many things to do before the surgery," Shaima said.
Eman was taken to Saifee Hospital from gate no 5 of the cargo section of the airport via a makeshift ambulance that was fully equipped to meet any medical emergency. The truck was covered by plastic sheets and curtains. The bed that was made in Egypt was customised as per the requirements of the hospital. It had hooks on it so that it could be lifted with the help of sturdy ropes.
Eman and Shaima were flown on an Egypt Airbus freighter aircraft that landed at the cargo section of the international airport at 4.15am. Despite not being in good health himself, Dr S J Bapai, Saifee's Assistant Director (PR & Govt), was at the airport to ensure that the Egyptian's dismount from the cargo plane was smooth.
A team of around 20 cops stood guard at gate no 5, to ensure Eman had a safe passage to the hospital. A car with police officers in it, as well as another police van escorted Eman and her crew to the hospital. Egyptian consul general Ahmed Khalil said, "The rehabilitation will take time. From what I understand, the doctors say she will remain in Mumbai for 5 to 6 months."