Update, March 24: A Jet Airways manager says Nidhi Chaphekar is undergoing treatment for burns and has been placed in a medically induced coma. Bernard Guisset said Nidhi Chaphekar has burns over 15 per cent of her body and has a fractured foot, but is out of danger.
NEW DELHI — A woman sitting bloodied and dazed just moments after the Brussels airport bombings was one of the most haunting images from the attacks.
The woman’s family in India saw the photo after Tuesday’s blasts. They identified her as Nidhi Chaphekar, a 40-year-old Jet Airways flight attendant and mother of two from Mumbai.
“We were searching through the Internet to try and get details of the blasts when we saw the pics,” her brother-in-law Nilesh Chaphekar told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “The first reaction was ‘she’s alive. By God’s grace she is alive.”’
Nidhi Chaphekar’s yellow uniform was apparently shredded from the force of one of the blasts. Her hair was caked with soot, and blood streaked down her face. Another woman in the photo is frantically making a phone call with a bloodied hand.
Chaphekar, who has worked for Mumbai-based Jet Airways for two decades, sat with one leg stretched across airport seating while the other dangled over the floor. A bloodied right foot was raised just enough so it wasn’t hitting shards of broken glass scattered across the floor.
But it was the look of shock and numbness on her face that captured the horror of the attacks, leading many around the world to share the photo on social media sites with the #PrayForNidhi hashtag.
Her family, including her husband, 11-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son, is now trying to get to Brussels to be with her. But Brussels airport remains closed.
“We’ve got visas now, but we are still not sure exactly what route we should take to reach her as soon as possible,” Nilesh Chaphekar said. “We are trying to figure out the nearest airport we can fly into.”
He added that the “the last medical update we’ve had is that she’s responding well to medication. We have been told there are some fractures and burns but we don’t know the extent.”
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People flee from the Brussels airport in this image taken from video, shot by a bystander in the the immediate aftermath of blasts at the airport