Airport error returns body of deceased Irish citizen to Greece

The family had to re-arrange the funeral as the handling company quickly moved to locate the missing coffin.

 The Dublin Airport (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Dublin Airport
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The remains of an Irish citizen that were being repatriated to Ireland were accidentally sent back to Greece after airport authorities forgot to remove the coffin from the plane last month, Irish media reported.

After an Irish citizen died abroad, his coffin was returned to his home country from his place of death, being transported on a flight from Greece to Dublin on May 22nd. However, after the deceased's family waited at the airport with a hearse, an error kept the coffin from being unloaded from the plane.

After what Irish media and Dublin Airport officials referred to as a "misload," the coffin was nowhere to be found as the family waited for their loved one to make his way off of the plane to his final resting place. Ground service's failure to unload the remains resulted in the body returning on another flight to Greece. 

Delayed funeral arrangements

This mishap wreaked havoc on the family, who had no choice but to return home and change funeral arrangements.

The company which handled the return of the deceased had to spring into action to resolve the problem.

 A hearse vehicle, known for its role in funeral processions. (credit: CREATIVE COMMONS)
A hearse vehicle, known for its role in funeral processions. (credit: CREATIVE COMMONS)

Swissport, the company responsible for airport ground services operations at Dublin Airport reorganized the body's repatriation via a different airline, returning the next day. The company issued a formal apology to the family of the deceased, according to Irish media.

​A spokesperson for the company stated that an internal investigation has been launched into this error. “We are deeply sorry for the family’s experience at such a difficult time and did everything we could to ensure things were resolved as quickly as possible," the company stated. “We are now conducting an urgent investigation to make sure lessons are learned.”

The body was initially returned on a flight to Dublin via Aegean Airlines. He was returned the next day on a different carrier.

The Dublin Airport Authority declined to comment on the incident, according to Irish media.