Lulu group's chairman Yusuff Ali visits saviours, months after chopper crash - GulfToday

Lulu group's chairman Yusuff Ali visits saviours, months after chopper crash


MA Yusuff Ali poses for photographs with the family of Rajesh Kahanna.

Ashraf Padanna, Correspondent

UAE-based tycoon MA Yusuff Ali visited a family in the Kerala port city of Kochi that came to rescue during a helicopter crash in which he had a narrow escape seven months back.

The LuLu group chairman and his wife and three others were onboard when it belly-landed in a vacant marshy plot on April 11.

Ali, who came with presents and chocolates for the couple’s son, spent 20 minutes with the family and posed for photographs with them.

He then went to the crash site with the couple and narrated how he had a narrow escape before going to meet the family of Peter, the plot’s owners, to thank them.

Rajesh Khanna who was living nearby was first to arrive at the scene and he asked his wife to bring a chair for Ali to sit on as he complained of back pain.

They waited there until the police arrived and shifted them to the nearby hospital headed by his son-in-law Shamsheer Vayalil.

Khanna, who is a casual worker, did not know who the victims were as it was raining.

He was draining out flood water in his courtyard along with wife AV Biji, a civil police officer.

Yousuf-Ali-2-750x450MA Yusuff Ali visits the crash site with Rajesh Khanna and AV Biji.

Ali was going to the Lakeshore Hospital where his uncle MK Abdulla, the founder-chairman of the group who died recently was undergoing treatment when the helicopter crashed.

After that he had spine surgery in the UAE and was advised bed rest for four months and when he came back after that the couple were in isolation after being tested positive for COVID-19.

During his second visit last month, he was busy with the funeral of his mentor who helped him to build the business empire.

"I had then promised to come to their home and I have fulfilled that promise. I’m expressing my gratitude for their love and humane attitude,” Ali said.

"I know the gesture of this brother and sister was invaluable. I cannot forget their help at all.”

Ali later visited the family who owned the plot where the helicopter crash-landed and said he was still alive because the chopper landed on their piece of land.

"The helicopter came down suddenly with a heavy sound and when we went there we saw water entering almost half of its height,” Rajesh said.

"We did not recognise him as he was wearing a face shield and all. Six people were inside. My wife immediately alerted the police who shifted them to hospital.”

Ali’s wife Shabira, private secretaries Harish, Shihab and Shafi and pilots Ashok and Shivaprasad were also onboard.

Ali said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, the federal watchdog, had found that the pilot’s error may have led to the crash and the chopper was airworthy.

"It’s the mercy of God that saved me,” he said, adding that the final report of the DGCA is yet to come.

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