Jet Airways flight in-charge Nidhi Chapekar, 42, who sustained burn injuries and fracture following twin blasts at the Zaventem Airport in Brussels on March 22, on Friday returned to Mumbai, where she was shifted to Breach Candy Hospital for further treatment.
Chapekar reached India, along with her husband and sister, on Friday at 7.15 am. She was previously admitted at Grande Hospital de Chaleroi Hospital in Belgium where she underwent skin graft and plastic surgery.
For her two children, Vrishi (11) and Vardhaan (14), “it was more tears and less words” as they met their mother six weeks after the bomb blast that caused 15 per cent burn injuries and a fractured ankle. Chapekar met her children, mother-in-law, mother and sister-in-law at Waterstones Club near Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport, before being taken to Breach Candy.
“She was transferred into an ambulance on the tarmac and we could not meet her outside the airport. Since the kids had to attend school and could not travel to South Mumbai, the family met at the club,” said brother-in-law Nilesh Chapekar, who lives in the same apartment as Nidhi in Andheri East.
“When we realised she will need another four-month hospitalisation for her ankle, we consulted the doctors in Brussels to understand if we could continue her treatment in India. It was planned suddenly to bring her back, once they said she was fit to travel,” said Nilesh.
According to sister-in-law Madhur Chapekar, she will be treated for her leg injuries in Mumbai. A team of doctors will decide the course of treatment.
Chapekar had left Mumbai on March 21 to report on duty for a Mumbai-Brussels Jet flight. She was expected to take another flight to New York and return to India the same week. However, soon after landing, Chapekar along with flight manager Amit Motwani were hit by the bomb blast as they exited an elevator. Motwani is undergoing treatment for eye and ear injuries in Belgium.
Chapekar’s blood streaked face as she sat on a chair at the airport soon after the blast had gone viral.
Though she is aware her picture was published by the media, she has still not discussed it with the family, said Nilesh. “We wish there was more empathy. The picture should have been blurred before being published.”
Chapekar’s husband Rupesh said her homecoming was “an extremely emotional moment”, specially for their children who could not visit her in Brussels due to studies.
“We are extremely happy and relieved to have Nidhi back home in Mumbai after the horrific events in Brussels. The days following the attacks were harrowing for our family. Nidhi has received the best medical care and attention and has now recovered significantly from her injuries,” he said.