This Wednesday Argentina woke up with an unexpected news: federal justice investigates the plot that led to the transfer of the embalmed body of a businessman who died of COVID-19 on the flight with 243 returnees that landed this Saturday in Ezeiza.
The Ministry of Health, in charge of Gines González García, denounced that the relatives of the 91-year-old man, Elías Masri, hid the cause of death. For that reason, the authorities allowed the drawer, which was hermetically sealed, to board the plane of Argentinian airlines.
The Argentine, a lawyer who has lived in the Big Apple since 1988, died in his apartment on 47th Street and 5th Avenue on April 7. His obituary was published in the New York Times. His relatives managed to carry the body from that city to Miami, from where the flight with the returnees departed and arrived in Buenos Aires on April 18.
The Masri family, dedicated to the real estate business, released a statement, to which they had access TN.com.ar, as a release after the dissemination of the case.
First, they assured that they handed over to the authorities “all the documentation and information requested by the officials of the intervening organizations and companies” for the repatriation process and that they complied with “all international protocols.”
At the same time, they denied having falsified or concealed that Masri was one of the fatal victims of the infection at the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States.
In addition, they indicated that they carried out the transfer of the body “with the sole objective of respecting the last wishes” of the businessman: being buried next to his wife.
Full release and transfer details
From the Masri family we want to clarify that for the repatriation of the remains of Elias Masri, at all times the documentation and information requested by the officials of the agencies and companies involved were delivered.
At no time was any information or documentation hidden or falsified. All international protocols in force were also complied with the sole objective of respecting the deceased’s last wishes, avoiding any risk of COVID-19 transmission.
Elías Masri passed away in New York City on April 7, 2020. The cause was cardiorespiratory failure caused by the Covid-19 virus.
The same day of his death the funeral home Frank Campbell Funeral Home, based in New York, worked in the preparation of the body to be transferred to the city of Buenos Aires whenever possible, since his wishes and those of his family were to be buried with his wife in his country.
At our request, the body was prepared in compliance with all the protocols and specifications required by the American authority in cases of deaths from infectious and contagious diseases.
Among the processes carried out, it is important to clarify that the body was embalmed, placed in a special metal coffin that is subsequently vacuum-sealed and hermetically sealed, which nullifies any possibility of Covid-19 infection.
The body was transferred on Saturday, April 18 on an Aerolineas Argentinas flight that took off from the Miami airport bound for Ezeiza.
For this, both the funeral companies of New York and Miami completed all the procedures, before the authorities and the airline.
During the efforts to repatriate the body through a private flight, the company involved in the transfer contacted the Argentine aeronautical authority and The Aeroparque Border Health area was informed of the cause of death by sending the Confidential Health Report that the US authorities They prepare as an annex to the official death certificate.
In the absence of a response from the Ministry of Health, it was decided to do so by means of a commercial flight, complying with all the required regulations.
Despite the hard time our family is living, and having suffered the death of our beloved family member, victim of a cruel disease, we are obliged to clarify completely wrong versions, who do not know the reality of the facts and the transparency of our actions.
From now on we will go through our mourning in reserve and we will allow any concerns that may exist to be clarified before the justice system.