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Wheelchair-bound Indian tourist skydives in Dubai

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai Filed on November 20, 2019 | Last updated on November 20, 2019 at 06.26 am
Wheelchair,bound, Indian, tourist ,skydives, Dubai, Pahalisha Kalliyath, Indian national, Kozhikode district
He was in his second year of college when he met with the accident.- Supplied photo

Before his accident, the businessman was a state-level award-winning boxer and a powerlifter.

A road accident in 2009 left Indian national Pahalisha Kalliyath with a spinal cord injury. Ten years later, there seems to be little that could break his spirit. The 29-year-old wheelchair-bound tourist recently ticked an item off his bucket list: He jumped off a plane at 13,000ft.

Kalliyath - who is from the Kozhikode district in the south Indian state of Kerala - was on a business trip in Dubai when he decided to go for an exhilarating skydiving experience with Skydive Dubai on Monday, November 18.

"There is nothing better in the world than skydiving. The view is spectacular. It is unlike anything I've experienced before," said Kalliyath, a director of Kairali TMT Steel Bars, the flagship division of Kairali Ventures. Indian actor Mohanlal is a brand ambassador of the company.

Before his accident, the businessman was a state-level award-winning boxer and a powerlifter.

He was in his second year of college when he met with the accident. "I was returning from a state-level boxing match in Idukki when the accident took place. I was a boxer and a powerlifter. I was returning from Idukki after a state-level competition in 2009 when I slept off during the drive and met with the accident," he said.

The accident rendered Kalliyath paralysed from the chest down.

"I suffered injuries to my C6 and C7 vertebrae. I was hospitalised for a year and a half and, later, was moved to Vellore Medical College for further treatment."

After years of treatment and physiotherapy, Kalliyath said he is now in excellent physical condition. "I can lock my knees; however, I can only walk with assistance. I hit the gym and swim to stay fit," he said.

Second attempt

This is the second time Kalliyath approached Skydive Dubai for the jump. "Two years back, when I approached them, they said I needed a doctor's certificate that clears me for the activity. Over the last two years, I worked towards it, collected all the needed certification, and primed my body for the jump," he said.

"I returned this year to do the jump last week. However, due to windy weather conditions, we had to move it for another day."

According to the businessman, people with paraplegia cannot dive in the same conditions as other individuals.

He called his moments in the sky a fantastic experience.

"Skydive Dubai took all the necessary precautions; for example, the feet need to be tied, etc. My instructor David and I worked together for the jump. It was very safe," Kalliyath explained.




Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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