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‘Missing’ Big Ticket winner finally found

Mathew was on vacation in India at the time the draw was held and his phone had broken down

Gulf News

Dubai: After he remained “missing” for several days, the latest winner of the Big Ticket draw in Abu Dhabi has finally been found.

Manekudy Varkey Mathew from India was picked as the winner in the Dh7 million jackpot draw on Thursday, but organisers were not able to reach him for days.

Mathew was on vacation in India at the time the draw was held. Organisers were not able to reach him because the phone he was using broke down just after he landed in his home country.

In an interview with Gulf News, Mathew, 58, who works as an electrician in Al Ain, said he felt blessed when news of his winning finally reached him, though he didn’t expect to hit the jackpot.

“I was a little bit shocked but happy. I think it’s due to the prayers of my family and friends,” Mathew said.

The Indian expatriate will split the prize money with two of his colleagues. He paid half of the ticket cost, while his two colleagues shared the remaining amount. Mathew will be taking home Dh3.5 million.

“I will discuss with my family [to what to do with my money] and then take a decision,” he said when asked about what he intends to do with his fortune.

Earlier, the team behind one of the UAE’s biggest raffle draw were seeking assistance to help locate the latest winner.

Raffles are quite common in the UAE and participants closely monitor the results. So in Mathew case it was rather unusual not to hear anything from the winner days after the raffle was drawn.

“We have been unable to get in touch with Mathew since last Thursday. This is the first time it’s happened in the history of the draw,” a source told Gulf News on Sunday morning.

By 12.53am on Sunday, organisers said they were able to finally contact the winner. A cousin’s brother-in-law saw the news online and alerted Mathew about it.

Mathew’s winning ticket number 024039 was purchased at the airport before his departure to India on August 24.

There were no other contact details provided by the winner, except his UAE mobile number and a post office box in Al Ain.

Winners have six months to claim the prize.

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