Maid Dies of Stress After Being Stuck at Airport for Days

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An Indian maid died at an airport in Oman after she lost her passport and was stranded for five days. And now authorities are busy placing blame.

The 40-year-old woman, Beebi Lumada, died from a heart attack triggered by stress, doctors say.

Her ordeal began last week when she tried to fly home to southern India from Muscat, Oman, where she had been working as a domestic servant. She had reportedly been dismissed from her job for emotional difficulties and her employer canceled her Omani visa.

So Lumada boarded a flight from Muscat to Doha, Qatar, planning to catch a connecting flight to Chennai, India.

Except on the Doha flight she somehow lost her passport.

Without the passport, Qatar Airways would not allow her on the connecting flight, so she was flown back to Muscat, as per airline policy.

There, without any documents, Lumada was not allowed to reenter Oman. She was kept in the transit area of Muscat airport for five nights, with food and bedding provided by Qatar Airways. And then she suffered a seizure and died.

So who is to blame? Fingers are pointing.

"The airport and airline authorities should have been more responsible. Valid papers are necessary but not more than a person's life," the minister for overseas Indian affairs, Vayalar Ravi, told Indian media.

For their part, Muscat police say the Indian Embassy failed to help the woman by not quickly providing her with a temporary passport, despite repeated requests. "If they acted fast enough, she would have probably been back home since last week," a police official told The National newspaper.

Human rights organization Amnesty International is among those demanding an investigation. Meanwhile, Lumada's body has been returned to India.

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