UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Man survives crash, wins US$1m in lottery
ABU DHABI –– As if surviving a crash-landing on an airliner wasn’t enough, a Dubai-based Indian man is celebrating a $1 million lottery win just days after that terrifying experience.
Mohammad Basheer Abdul Khadar, 62, was on board Emirates Flight EK521 en route from southern India when it skidded on the runway as it landed in Dubai and burst into flames.
Despite the fact the entire top half of the Boeing 777’s fuselage was burnt off, only 13 passengers were injured –– though a firefighter was killed responding to the emergency last Wednesday.
Khadar’s winning number in the Dubai Duty Free Millennium Millionaire draw was pulled Tuesday at Dubai International Airport, netting him Dh3.67 million (US$1 million).
Khadar, an employee with a car dealership in Dubai, told the Gulf News he’d purchased the ticket last month as he set off on vacation with his family in the south Indian state of Kerala.
He described last week’s escape as a “miracle” and a “precious gift from God”.
“I feel like God gave me a second life when I survived the plane crash, and blessed me with this money to follow all this up by doing good things,” he added.
He said he plans to retire in December and return to his native India to find a job helping others.
“I am blessed to have finally won with Dubai Duty Free and can’t wait to share the news with my family. If you ask me about my plans, I obviously want to help the children in Kerala who are less fortunate than others and need some financial help and medical support,” he told Gulf News.
Meanwhile, the cause of last week’s crash-landing is still not clear.
Emirates chairman, His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said he didn’t want to “jump to conclusions” about what happened because the investigation is ongoing.
But he said the fire started after the plane landed, and there were no signs of security problems.