Lulu chairman Yusuff Ali, wife back in Abu Dhabi after forced helicopter landing in Kerala


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Abu Dhabi: M. A. Yusuff Ali, the chairman of UAE-headquartered multinational company Lulu Group, and his wife Shabira reached Abu Dhabi on Monday, a day after they had a narrow escape following an emergency landing of their helicopter in Kerala, India.

The couple, two of their staff members and two pilots were aboard their private helicopter which made a forced landing in a swamp amid heavy rains and winds in Kochi. All passengers were safe, but sustained minor injuries and had been taken to hospital, early reports had said on Sunday.

In a statement issued later, V Nandakumar, director of Marketing and Communications at Lulu, had said the helicopter “had to make a precautionary landing in Kochi”. “Yusuff Ali M.A. currently in Kerala, was on a short trip from his home in Kochi to visit a relative at a nearby hospital. Due to the sudden deterioration of the weather conditions and heavy rains, the experienced pilots decided to make precautionary landing at a safe place to prevent any risk to the life of the passengers of the public at large. All passengers and crew underwent necessary medical check-up and are safe,” read the statement.

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Speaking to Gulf News on Monday, Nandakumar said both Yusuff Ali and his wife reached Abu Dhabi on an Etihad charter flight by 5:45am on Monday. “His family members including all three daughters had flown home yesterday to bring the parents back here. All of them returned safely.”

He said the couple were fine and resting at home after undergoing another round of check-up in Abu Dhabi. “There could be some slight pains and aches … but nothing major,” he said when asked about their health. The pilot finding that place to safely land the helicopter without causing safety risk to the passengers and the residents in the area is a big blessing. All are happy about that,” he added, while heading to the inauguration of the 209th branch of Lulu in Dubai Silicon Oasis.

Meanwhile, efforts to remove the helicopter were underway in Kerala. An investigation on the technical issues that led to the emergency landing would be carried out by the aviation authorities in India.


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