Missing ashes of Irish emigrant's parents located at Italian airport

Missing ashes of Irish emigrant's parents located at Italian airport

Latest: Aer Lingus has located missing baggage containing a man's ashes.

It's been found in Milan Malpensa Airport in Italy after it was lost while being flown to Ireland from Australia.

A family were bringing their father's ashes on a flight from Milan to Dublin on Saturday when their luggage was misplaced.

It wasn't loaded onto the Aer Lingus flight by the baggage handlers at Malpensa Airport and it will arrive overnight into Dublin Airport.

Earlier story (5:47pm): Aer Lingus lose ashes of Irish emigrant's parents on flight from Australia

An Irish emigrant who has travelled home from Australia to Ballymena in order to scatter the ashes of his father and mother is in limbo this afternoon after Aer Lingus lost his bags, and with them, the remains of his parents.

Bob Gilmour told the Irish Times that he spent the first 11 years of his life in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, where his father Sam was born.

His father met his mother - an English woman from Birmingham - and they emigrated to Australia in 1967.

He told RTÉ's Drivetime that both of his parents had said before their deaths that they wanted to have their ashes scattered on their family graves in their respective home countries.

Bob will make his way to a planned funeral ceremony in Ballymena tomorrow after he arrived in Dublin via Milan on Saturday where, he said, check-in had been "chaotic". He is planning on travelling to Birmingham in England for a ceremony at his mother's hometown on Friday.

Mr Gilmour said: "Ours were the last four bags to go up the checkout shoot. When we arrived in Dublin our bags were not on the aircraft and two of them have not been seen since."

The missing bags contain Bob's parents' ashes and he said he has been making jokes about "mum and dad decided to elope again... or they're on a world tour while they've still got a chance".

Bob told Drivetime's Mary Wilson that he has had no success contacting Aer Lingus and that Aer Lingus had not made contact with them. They filled out forms online and waited and waited in Dublin, since arriving on Saturday.

He said:

"We've had zero success."

"What's made it really really tough is trying to deal with a call centre presumably in India and a website, that I don't want to speak badly of the people who work at these things but the process is less than useless.

"The whole process seems to be that once you've filled out your paperwork, go away and don't annoy us until you get your bags back."

Bob told Drivetime that the ceremony will still go ahead tomorrow as planned, with or without the ashes.

Aer Lingus issued a statement saying: “Aer Lingus sincerely apologises for the misplaced baggage. We recognise the sensitivities of this particular situation and are working with all the parties involved to retrieve the baggage as quickly as we can.”

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