SEPANG (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Sadness filled the Kuala Lumpur International Airport arrival hall as family members of the Malaysian student who died in the Shanghai New Year's eve stampede tragedy returned home with her body.
The deceased's father, Mr Tan Chin Hin, hugged a portrait of his only daughter while exiting the arrival hall, followed by his sobbing wife, Ms Lee Siew Yan, and two sons on Monday.
Seeing his friends who had waited for their return since 2pm, Mr Tan burst into tears.
His friend, Mr Philip Tan, gave him a hug and tried to console the devastated father.
The victim, Ms Tan Wei, was an undergraduate at the Hangzhou University.
"We received the death certificate from Shanghai Hospital at 7am today, but we arrived late because the flight was delayed due to bad weather," Mr Tan told reporters after regaining his composure.
He also thanked Malaysia Airlines for providing assistance in bringing his daughter's body home and for upgrading their seats from economy to business class.
The flight carrying the family members was scheduled to land at 3.30pm but arrived about two hours later due to poor visibility.
The family together with some 20 friends later collected Ms Tan Wei's body from MASkargo before proceeding to Dong Zhong cemetery in Kampung Jenjarom, Kuala Langat, for the funeral.
At the funeral home, Mr Tan, who is the village headman, said he shaved his signature beard and would never grow it back, in remembrance of his daughter.
He said he had rushed to Shanghai after his wife, who was holidaying in China, called him and said something had happened to their daughter.
He said he was initially relieved when his daughter's name was not in the casualty list but had gone looking for her from hospital to hospital when he could not contact or locate her.
"I finally found her in a bodybag in a freezer compartment in the hospital's mortuary," he said.