travel

'An airline lost the suitcase carrying my daughter's ashes.'

A distraught mother is suing a major American airline for $13.5 million after they lost the suitcase carrying her late daughter’s ashes.

“I felt that I failed my child,” the mother says.

“I failed her…I lost her twice.”

Watch Iddy Pierre-Canel’s interview with NBC here:

Video via NBC

According to her lawsuit, Iddy Pierre-Canel was travelling from Baltimore, where she had attended her daughter Carm-Idrelle Casseus’s funeral, to her home in Tuscon on March 5 when airport staff demanded she check-in her carry-on luggage.

Despite pleas, tears and clearly indicating that her daughter’s ashes were inside, Pierre-Canel’s lawyer, Lorraine Morey, says American Airlines staff convinced the grieving mother everything would be fine and carried the bags away.

When the plane took off, Pierre-Canel says she realised she didn’t have her bag and tells NBC’s 12 News airline staff told her the bag had been checked and would be the first off the plane.

When the plane landed, though, the bag – and the urn of ashes – was nowhere to be found.

airline loses ashes

"I was screaming. I was hurt," Pierre-Canel says. "I wanted to die because I felt that I failed my child.”

Now, having been served with a lawsuit, American Airlines are claiming they were never aware of the fact that Pierre-Canel's luggage carried such important cargo.

“Had we known there were cremated ashes in the bag," an airline representative told NBC's 12 News, "we would have had her remove them or found a place for the bag.

“We apologised for losing the items and certainly are very sorry for her terrible loss.”

Carm-Idrelle Casseus. Source: NBC.
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Forced to file an itemised list of what was in the bag, Pierre-Canel estimated $24,000 worth of belongings had been lost, but did not include the urn — because, as she argues, how do you put a price on the remains of your child?

Eventually, 19 days after the ordeal began, American Airlines located the luggage and Casseus's ashes and returned the bag to Pierre-Canel.

NBC 12 News reports that in addition to seeking $13.5 million in compensation from American Airlines, Pierre-Canel is also currently involved in another lawsuit in relation to her daughter's death, with Boston Mutual Life Insurance.

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