Dubai: One may call it good luck, but for two Indian expats it was God who prevented them at the last minute from boarding the Air India Express plane that crashed in Kerala, killing at least 18 people on board.
According to India’s Civil Aviation Ministry, the Boeing 737 aircraft on a flight from Dubai to Kozhikode overshot the runway at Kozhikode airport on Friday evening. There were 184 passengers including 10 infants, 2 pilots and four cabin crew onboard the aircraft.
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.
“I called my school PRO and he told me to come back. He said they would follow protocols and pay the fines before sending me,“ he said.
Vetten was disappointed and called his family to let them know.
“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.
“My work visa was cancelled about a week ago. After getting my boarding pass, I was told I had to pay a fine of Dh1,000 at the immigration counter, but I had only Dh500 on me.”
“I was very keen to board the flight and be with my family. So I called a friend who brought me the additional Dh500, but by then, my baggage had been offloaded and the flight’s doors were closed,” said Parrakodan.
“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 who plans to fly back next week.