Belgian television channel RTL-TVI today broadcasted the testimony of a Liégeoise who lost her ex-husband, who died in Italy last May. In addition to the immense grief, she had to manage the fiasco that surrounded the repatriation of the coffin.
“Did he go to a cold room? Was he parked there like a vulgar parcel? We do not know,” are some of the many questions Julie asks. On May 23, Leon, her ex-husband, died in Sardinia. After she saw him one last time, the coffin was to be flown to Rome, and from there to Brussels. But a few hours later, the repatriation did not go as planned. For the family, it was a shock.
After some research, the company that was supposed to make the repatriation found it in Paris Charles de Gaulle, in fact, his coffin was exchanged with another one.
Returned to Rome
Alitalia exchanged the coffin by confusing it with a French one. Brussels Airport was ready to make the exchange by sending a hearse to Paris. But Alitalia sent it back to Rome without authorization. It would not land in Brussels until the next morning.
“I thought it was a joke,” said Alexandra, Leon’s daughter. “We did not believe it, and then it was panic, questions … What if we never find it again?” Mother and daughter finally had the impression that Leon was treated like travel bags.
“We noticed that the coffin was damaged, that there were beatings and that there was no respect from Alitalia staff, neither for him nor for us. We have not even had a word of apology, “laments Julie.
Leon’s family filed a complaint against the company through the Italian consul, but what they hoped for was an apology to appease them.