A helicopter belonging to the Lulu Group carrying UAE-based businessman M A Yusuf Ali, his wife and three others force-landed in a vacant plot in Kochi on Sunday morning. The occupants were moved to a private hospital nearby, and all of them are reported to be stable, but under observation.
The incident occurred at around 9 am along the National Highway bypass at Panangad, reportedly following technical snag. amidst mild rainfall in the area. The helicopter landed on the marshy plot of land, and the pilot and others walked through hip-deep water. They were helped by people of the locality, and were taken to a nearby hospital.
Mr. Ali and others had boarded the helicopter from his house in Kochu Kadavanthra to meet a relative who was admitted in a nearby hospital. The twin engine Augusta Westland helicopter was slated to land on the ground of Fisheries College, Panangad but the pilot was forced to land in the marshy plot around 200 m away, due to a technical snag. Locals praised the skill of the pilot, Capt TP Ashok, an ex Indian Navy Commander in steering the helicopter away from the power lines and heavy traffic on the National Highway and making a safe, but forced-landing.
The Director General of Civil Aviation will hold an enquiry into the force-landing issue, tomorrow at Kochi.