NAT 200809 RIYAZ-1596957924357
Muhammed Riyas, who was killed in the crash on Friday, was popular in his college as the students’ union chairman. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: It was not just the wedding dreams of a youth that were snuffed out when Muhammed Riyas V.P, who was flying home for his marriage planned a year ago, perished in Friday’s Air India Express crash in Kozhikode, Kerala.

It was also a heartbreaking end to a college love story.

See more

Riyas, 24, had fallen in love with Hanya, his junior in college, while he was doing his bachelor’s degree in Commerce at Ideal College in Cherpulassery, his uncle, Ashraf Ali, told Gulf News over the phone from Kerala on Sunday.

“He was popular in college. He was the college students’ union chairman,” said Ali.

However, he said the families came to know about his relationship with Hanya only after Riyas came to the UAE on a visit and went back for a change to his visa status when he managed to get a job as a warehouse assistant with a pharmaceutical company in Dubai.

Mohammad Riyas
The last selfie that Mohammed Riyas took at Dubai International International Airport before boarding the ill-fated flight on Friday. His brother Nizamudheen (second from left) and neighbour Mohammed Musthafa (right) who also travelled with him survived with multiple injuries.

‘First annual leave’

“When he came back, we all got to know [about their relationship] and the families agreed to their wedding one year ago. We decided to hold the function when he would come on his first annual leave this year.”

Since then, the families of Riyas and Hanya have been very close. They would call and visit each other very often while the couple continued with their long-distance relationship.

The wedding was supposed to take place some months ago. Due to the travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic it got postponed, said Ali.

“On the 14th of last month (July), we decided to hold the wedding this month depending on the arrival of Riyas. It was supposed to be held once he would finish his quarantine period upon reaching home.”

When he applied for his trip to India with the Indian Consulate in Dubai, Riyas cited “going for marriage function, which I planned before one year”, as the reason.

However, fate had a different plan.

Miraculous escape

The youth, who boarded the ill-fated flight from Dubai to Kozhikode, along with his elder brother Nizamudheen V.P, 28, who works in Al Ain, was one of those killed when the plane skidded off the runway in Kozhikode and nosedived into a valley before breaking into two on Friday.

While Riyas could not make it, Nizamudheen had a miraculous escape with injuries, said Ali.

“He is in Kozhikode Medical College. He has not been told about Riyas. We were told he was out of danger but had suffered a fracture and was under treatment.”

The siblings have another younger brother who studies back home.

On Saturday, both the families of Riyas and Hanya attended the funeral of Riyas at a local mosque.

Ali said Hanya has been inconsolable ever since hearing the tragic news. “We have no words to console her.”

Another groom survives

While Riyas bid farewell to this world in the crash, another groom who was his co-passenger on the same flight had a lucky escape.

As reported by Gulf News on Friday, Parameswaran Azhakath travelled with his elder brother Ravisankar Azhakath, sister-in-law Tara Sankar and niece Ayana Ravisankar on the Flight IX1344 for his wedding scheduled to be held on September 10.

NAT PARAMESWARAN-1596957926516
Parameswaran Azhakath travelled with his elder brother Ravisankar Azhakath, sister-in-law Tara Sankar and niece Ayana. All three had a miraculous escape.

All of them survived the crash with injuries that required surgeries. Azhakath’s cousin Hari told Gulf News over the phone from Kerala.

The 28-year-old engineer underwent a surgery for a spinal cord injury on Saturday. He said the injury was not critical. “He will be moved to a general ward soon,” Hari added.

Read more

His brother, who sustained head injuries, is scheduled to undergo a surgery once the swelling on his face reduces, while the sister-in-law would be operated upon for a fracture in her leg once her blood pressure stabilises, he said. The four-year-old niece underwent surgery for both her legs that sustained fractures in the crash.

“We are still thanking God that they survived. We are praying for their speedy recovery, after which we can hold the wedding ceremony,” said Hari.