NEW DELHI: Seven members of one family survived the Air India Express plane crash in Kerala that claimed the lives of at least 18 co-passengers on Friday. Dubai-based Indian expat Shemir Vadakkan Pathappiriyam was relieved as all the seven members of his and his brother’s family survived.
Shemir, who works as a logistics manager in Dubai Silicon Oasis, has been making frantic phone calls since Friday evening to different trauma centres in Kerala near the Kozhikode airport to get information of his family members on board the flight.
When he finally managed to speak to his wife, she told him that she and the other family members were rescued by the local people. Shemir’s wife was travelling with their two daughters and a son. His brother Safvan’s wife and their daughter and a son were also on board the Vande Bharat flight from Dubai to Kozhikode.
They were others who were lucky not have been able to board the plane at the last minute. Noufal Moin Vetten, an Ajman resident working as an office boy in a Sharjah school, was booked to travel on the flight and had checked in as per schedule.
Recounting his miraculous escape, Vetten, a resident of Malappuram, Thirunavaya, whose visa was cancelled a week ago, told Gulf News: "I was handed my boarding pass, but when I reached immigration, they told me I had to pay a fine of Dh 1,000 (Rs 20,430) for overstay. I had only Dh 500 (Rs10,215) with me. “When I heard about the crash, I was saddened for all the passengers. But I’m so relieved I missed it. God has been really merciful,’ said Vetten.
Afsal Parrakodan, a resident of Abu Dhabi, had a similar stroke of luck. “I was feeling very sad and called my mother to tell her I had missed the flight. But a few hours later, when I learnt of the crash, I couldn’t help but feel relieved and thankful to God for saving my life,” said an overwhelmed Parrakodan.