National

Providential escape for Yusuffali, wife after chopper force-lands

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on April 11, 2021

MA Yusuffali. File photo

Yusuffali and family were on way to pay a visit to a friend admitted at the VPS Lakeshore Hospital

It was a providential escape for UAE-based billionaire MA Yusuffali and wife whose private helicopter was forced to land in a marshy land just 200 km short of the landing area in Panangad, Kochi after it failed to make the last mile approach to a scheduled landing spot at the Fisheries College grounds. 

Presence of mind of the pilot seemed to have prevented what could have been a major disaster after he guided the chopper safely into knee-deep water, softening the impact. He handled the situation expertly and had managed to navigate it past the national highway and safely beyond compound walls on all sides of the marsh. 

Observers said the grazing of the rotor blades against the compound wall could have potentially started off a fire, a situation that was avoided thanks to the deft handling of the situation by the pilot before he maneuvered the stricken chopper to a vacant marsh near the Panangad police station. 

The event took place at around 8.30 am on Sunday morning as Yusuffali and family flew in to pay a visit to a friend admitted at the VPS Lakeshore Hospital in the immediate neighbourhood co-owned by his son-in-law. 

It was only on Saturday that Yusuffali received Abu Dhabi's top civilian award from the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. 

A spokesman for the billionaire's Lulu Group told BusinessLine that both he and wife are safe without even a minor injury. They are now undergoing a regular check-up at the hospital. It is yet to be confirmed if it was an engine trouble or bad weather that caused the chopper to lose control.

Published on April 11, 2021

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