The remains of an Irish citizen who died abroad were accidentally left on a plane at Dublin Airport and flown back to Greece, causing distress for his family and sparking an internal investigation at the airport.
Ground services neglected to remove the man’s coffin from a flight from Greece on May 22, the Sunday Independent understands.
His family were waiting with a hearse at the airport, but a “misload” resulted in the coffin not being spotted and removed as planned, and it went back on the plane to Greece.
After being informed of the mistake, the dead man’s family had no choice but to return home and re-arrange his funeral.
The handling company at fault strove to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
It organised the repatriation with another airline, which returned the remains the following day.
Swissport, the company that is responsible for airport ground services at Dublin Airport, has issued an apology to the family of the dead man.
A spokesperson also told the Sunday Independent that it has launched an internal investigation into the blunder.
The company said in a statement: “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.
“We are now conducting an urgent investigation to make sure lessons are learned.”
The man’s body was originally flown to Dublin on an Aegean Airlines flight from Greece.
Attempts were made to contact Aegean Airlines for comment, but without success.
It is understood that a different airline successfully repatriated the remains the following day.
A source said the family had been left “devastated” by what had happened.
Dublin Airport Authority was contacted, but declined to comment on the incident.