A 14-year-old boy died in the Maldives on Saturday, allegedly after President Mohammed Muizzu refused to give approval to use the Dornier aircraft provided by India for his airlift, Maldivian media reported.
The boy, who had a brain tumour and suffered a stroke, had his family request an air ambulance to transport him from his home in Gaaf Alif Villingili to the capital city, Male, as his condition became critical.
According to Maldivian media, the family alleges that the authorities failed to arrange medical evacuation promptly.
“We called Island Aviation to get him to Male’ immediately after the stroke but they did not answer our calls. They answered the phone at 8:30 am on Thursday. The solution is to have an air ambulance for such cases,” Maldivian media Adhadhu quoted the boy’s father as saying.
The boy was brought to Male 16 hours after the emergency evacuation request was made.
Meanwhile, in a statement, the Aasandha Company Limited that received the emergency evacuation request said that they initiated the process to evacuate immediately after the request, but “unfortunately, due to a technical problem with the flight at the last moment, the diversion was not possible as planned”.
This development comes at a time when diplomatic relations between India and the archipelago nation have recently deteriorated, following derogatory comments made by the Maldivian ministers towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Commenting on the death of the boy, Maldives MP Meekail Naseem said, “People shouldn’t have to pay with their lives to satisfy the President’s animosity towards India”.