A man who was engulfed in flames after allegedly crashing a Jeep Cherokee loaded with gas cylinders into Glasgow’s airport is unlikely to survive his severe burns, a doctor who treated him said Tuesday.
Police believe Kafeel Ahmed, 27, was driving the Jeep when it rammed into the airport entrance June 30, shattering the glass doors, and then ignited into a raging fire. Witnesses saw his body in flames after the attack, which came a day after police found two unexploded car bombs in central London.
“The prognosis is not good, and he is not likely to survive,” a member of the medical team that treated him at the Royal Alexandra Hospital near Glasgow said on condition of anonymity because details about patients are not to be made public.
“He has third-degree burns over most of his torso and limbs. It is beyond repair, and because he has lost so much skin, he is now vulnerable to infection and won’t be able to fight it,” the doctor said.
An aeronautical engineer
Prosecutors suspect Bilal Abdullah, a 27-year-old doctor born in Britain and raised in Iraq, and Ahmed, an aeronautical engineer from India, carried out the attempted bombings in London before returning to Scotland — where Abdullah worked at a Glasgow-area hospital — and attacking the airport. Abdullah is so far the only suspect to have been charged.
Ahmed was initially treated at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, where Abdullah worked as a diabetes specialist. He was transferred under sedation to the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in the early hours of Monday in an intensive care ambulance.
Ahmed is under constant armed police guard. The medical team member who discussed his condition could not confirm if police had been able to question him.
A spokeswoman for the Greater Glasgow Health Board, speaking on the condition of anonymity according to Scottish government practice, would only say: “The patient remains in police custody, and his condition remains critical.”
A police spokeswoman would not confirm if Ahmed had been questioned. “We are not releasing anything about this person at the moment,” she said.
'A sincere employee'
In Bangalore, India, officials confirmed that Ahmed had worked there as an aeronautical engineer at a company contracted by the biggest names in aviation.
Ahmed worked for Infotech Enterprises, a large outsourcing firm, from December 2005 to August 2006, said the company spokesman K.S. Susindar.
Infotech works with Boeing and Airbus, among others — possibly giving Ahmed access to sensitive design information from the companies.
Susindar declined to comment on whether Ahmed had access to design secrets or what projects he worked on.
“He was a sincere employee and from what I can gather, he gave no problems whatsoever,” Susindar said.
The services Infotech offered its clients was not immediately clear, but most of the aviation work outsourced to Indian companies includes software support for cabin lighting, display of information in the cockpit, in-flight entertainment and communication.
In some cases, it could involve designing software for flight control systems, navigation and surveillance.
A spokeswoman for Boeing declined to comment. Calls to aircraft engine makers Pratt & Whitney were not immediately returned, nor were calls to Airbus.
Others being held
Sabeel Ahmed, 26, Kafeel’s brother, is being held in Liverpool as a suspect in the alleged plot. Sabeel, who worked as a doctor, and Kafeel are among eight people held in the case.
A third Indian, Mohammad Haneef, is being held in Australia for questioning.
Australian police said they would likely ask for more time to detain Haneef without charge.
Haneef started his second week in custody Tuesday, as criticism grew that Australia’s new counterterrorism laws had left him in indefinite legal limbo. Haneef’s lawyer said he would likely challenge any further extension to his detention.
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty said police would seek another extension is necessary.
“We asked for a period of time that we thought that was reasonable in terms of the amount of work that we envisaged needs to be done before we can be in a position to decide one way or the other about Dr. Haneef’s fate,” Keelty told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio Tuesday.
Investigation moves to India
An Australian federal police agent has gone to India to continue the investigation, said a spokeswoman for the AFP, speaking on a condition of anonymity in line with agency policy.
She would not say where the officer went, but she said the officer would be working with Indian officials.
The case emerged June 29, when two cars packed with gas cylinders and nails were discovered in London’s entertainment district. The next day, the flaming Jeep smashed into security barriers at the main terminal at Glasgow airport.
The Hindustan Times reported that investigators in Bangalore were looking for anything that might link the Ahmed brothers to terrorist acts in India. It said there was evidence suggesting Abdullah had visited Bangalore to meet with the two.