A change of travel plan at the last minute saved the life of Congress legislator AP Abdullakutty from meeting the fate of 158 passengers who died when an Air India Express plane from Dubai crashed at Mangalore airport on Saturday.
"It is God's grace. He was scheduled to take the same Air India flight back home, but changed his plan at the last moment. It saved his life," said his wife, Rosina Kutty, heaving a sigh of relief.
Abdullakutty had initially planned to catch the Air India (AI) flight to Mangalore.
But the former MP reached the Dubai International Airport late because he got delayed at an event he was attending in Kuwait.
Abdullakutty was upset he had to miss his early flight since he had to reach his hometown Kannur to attend a function.
He had even expressed his displeasure to the Overseas Indian Cultural Congress, the organisers of the Rajiv Gandhi memorial programme.
His friend Varghese Puthukulangara somehow managed to arrange a ticket on an Emirates flight to Karippur (in Kerala's Kozhikode district).
As soon as he reached Karippur, he came to know about the Mangalore air tragedy.
"My cousin was flooded with calls on his mobile from relatives and friends who were anxious to know if he was in the Mangalore flight," said Abdul Khadar, a close relative of Abdullakutty.
"The whole family, including his wife and children, had tense moments before he (Abdullakutty) called us and said he was safe," he said.
(With agency inputs)