Yusuff Ali flown back, advised rest; laurels for rescuer cop


Kochi: A helicopter belonging to the LuLu Group that had made an emergency landing at a marshy plot at Panangad was shifted to a hangar at the Nedumbassery International Airport around 4 am on Monday.

Besides two pilots, NRI business tycoon Yusuff Ali, his wife, and three others were in the chopper when it landed after developing a technical snag in inclement weather on Sunday morning.

The helicopter was shifted under the supervision of a team of technical experts from Delhi. Its rotor blades were detached before lifting it using a crane. A trailer truck transported the aircraft by road to Nedumbassery.

Earlier, heavy rains hampered the pumping of water from the marshy land around 8 pm on Sunday, and more motor pumps had to be brought in. Sandbags were used for fortification before raising the chopper.

DGCA begins probe

Kochi/New Delhi: Officials from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation have reached Kochi and commenced their probe into the circumstances that led to the emergency landing of Yusuff Ali’s chopper. Two engineers from OSS Air Management firm, dealing with helicopter services, too, have reached Kochi.

OSS chief engineer J P Pandey said a detailed inspection was required in the coming days to determine the technical snag. Experts would be checking the circumstances that led to the stalling of an engine and also why the other one failed to start in bad weather conditions.

The AgustaWestland-made helicopter involved in the incident had twin engines. The DGCA and OSS have already contacted the chopper-maker. It might take weeks to get the probe report.

Captain Ashok Kumar, commandeering the chopper, landed the aircraft in the nearest spot after the helicopter’s engines had stalled. A former test pilot with the Indian Navy, his experience and expertise helped in avoiding a major accident. Co-pilot K B Shiva Kumar was also a well-experienced pilot. Both the men hailed from Kottayam.

It has been believed that the chopper had not suffered any structural damage, which would have caused injuries to the passengers.

Yusuff Ali reaches Abu Dhabi

Dubai: LuLu Group Chairman M A Yusuff Ali has been advised to complete bed rest. He reached Abu Dhabi early on Monday by a special Etihad Airways flight sent by the Abu Dhabi royals.

Ali preferred the special flight arranged by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE armed forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to his private jet since his family, too, accompanied him.

LuLu Marketing and Communications director V Nandakumar said Ali left for Abu Dhabi for better treatment and proper rest.

Cash award to CPO Biji

Kochi: The State police chief has awarded a commendation and a cash prize of Rs 2,000 to A V Biji, the senior civil police officer attached to the Panangad police station for her rescuing the passengers on board the chopper.

Biji and her husband Rajesh Khanna, leader of the Madavana headload workers’ union, were the first to reach the helicopter after the emergency landing. They took the passengers and crew to their house, and Biji rushed to the police seeking help.

Director-General of Police Loknath Behera said the award was in recognition of Biji’s presence of mind.

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