On March 10th, 2019 - Traveller Assist Managing Director, Jonathan Bancroft was connecting flights in Dubai en-route home from Nepal when Traveller Assist received a request from an insurer for immediate assistance in Ethiopia, after a tragic plane crash killed all 157 onboard.
Within 7-hours, Jonathan landed in Addis Ababa and met-up with our Operations Manager who happened to be in Tanzania on other business at the time of the call. Little was known going in, but what was clear from the news was that Traveller Assist would be assisting with, and coordinating the repatriations of mortal remains.
Three-days after the crash, Traveller Assist were told that it would take at least 3 more days until victims of the crash had been recovered, formally identified and released. Understandably, this was extremely traumatic for the families. Traveller Assist received 119 calls and emails from family members all demading answers.
Our team on the ground in Ethiopia coordinated with airline and Embassy staff, and liaised with other insurers who did not have local partners or representatives.
In total, Traveller Assist coordinated the repatriation of mortal remains for 18-bodies to four different countries on behalf of nine travel insurers, and two families of uninsured travellers who paid privately.