THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It would be hard for the Mollywood to forget the scars of the helicopter stunt that went awry during the shooting of movie Kolilakkam on November 16, 1980 as it claimed the life of Malayalam’s first action hero and superstar Jayan at the age of 41. When Kerala observed the 40th death anniversary of the beloved star on Monday, one of the topics hotly discussed on social media was the whereabouts of the chopper involved in the accident.
There were reports that the chopper was made by a US-based company, Bell Textron, in 1969 and it was operational until 2010. The reports also said, the company that owned the chopper in India had sold it to an Australian company named AMT Helicopters Pty Ltd in 2000 which exhibited it in the airshow in Queensland.
The experts traced the whereabouts of the chopper by finding its registration number mentioned on its tail and belly. The registration number was VT-EAD, according to the screenshots of the chopper in the movie. Going by the registration number of the chopper, aviation experts tried to trace the helicopter. But a search by The New Indian Express has found that the methodology followed by aviation experts was right but their endeavour went in vain as they got the registration wrong.
In fact, the registration number was VT-EAO. The style adopted by the company for displaying the registration number on the body of the chopper misled social media.
The company which owned the chopper during the time of the accident was Pushpaka Aviation Pvt Ltd. When TNIE contacted H Suresh Rao, former managing director of Pushpaka Aviation, he said the company was wound up years ago and he is working as an aviation consultant in Mumbai.
“It’s true that the chopper involved in the accident that claimed the life of the film star was owned by Pushpaka Aviation. But we have not sold it to anyone. We did not rebuild the chopper after the accident and it was discarded when the company expanded its fleet,” he said. “I don’t know when it was discarded or it was given to anyone. But one thing is sure, we stopped using the chopper after the accident,” he added.