Yusuff Ali, Chairman & Managing Director of LuLu Group (File photo) Image Credit: Archive

Abu Dhabi: M. A. Yusuff Ali, Chairman of UAE-headquartered multinational company Lulu Group, has undergone a spinal surgery following the helicopter ‘accident’ in India, the group said in a statement on Thursday night.

Yusuff Ali, his wife Shabira, two of their staff members and two pilots were aboard their private helicopter which made a forced landing in a swamp amidst heavy rains and winds in Kochi in Kerala on Sunday.

All passengers were safe, but sustained minor injuries and had been taken to hospital, early reports had said on Sunday.

As reported by Gulf News, the couple had flown back to Abu Dhabi on Monday and went home following another round of checkup.

However, Yusuff Ali had to be admitted again.

He successfully underwent a spinal surgery at Burjeel Hospital in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, as per Thursday’s statement issued by V Nandakumar, director of Marketing and Communications at Lulu.

“An expert team of 25 doctors led by renowned German neurosurgeon Prof Dr Shawarbi performed the surgery and Mr. Yusuff Ali is recovering well in the hospital,” the statement said.

“Dr Shamsheer V.P, son-in-law of Mr. Yusuff Ali and owner of Burjeel Hospital has been leading the entire operation from the front, rushing to Koch on April 11, immediately after the unfortunate “helicopter accident” and bringing back Mr. Yusuff Ali to Abu Dhabi swiftly and safely in a special flight.”

The group had earlier termed the copter mishap as a precautionary landing due to adverse weather conditions. Local media had reported that one of the engines of the twin-engine helicopter had failed, making it difficult for the pilots to fly during heavy rains and winds.

The exact cause of the forced landing would be ascertained only after authorities concerned in India complete an investigation into the incident.

The statement added that the retail tycoon and his family members have expressed their sincered gratitude and appreciation to all well-wishers and friends for their continued prayers and blessings.

Yusuff Ali was recently named as the second richest UAE resident with $4.8 billion assets by Forbes magazine.

Last week, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, had honoured him and 11 others with Abu Dhabi Awards, the highest civilian awards by the UAE government.

He was recognised for his far-reaching support of national initiatives and events in the UAE including sports, culture, charitable and community-based projects. His support of many campaigns, both nationally and internationally, have positively impacted many local communities, WAM reported.

This week, Yusuff Ali donated Dh1million to the region’s largest food donation drive by the UAE, the ‘100 Million Meals’ campaign.

He had donated $6.8 million to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and also built and donated a treatment centre with 1,400 beds in Kerala, Forbes said.