THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Matthunny Mathews, the real-life hero who inspired the Airlift, died in Kuwait. He was a noted Indian businessman of Kuwait and was instrumental in the safe evacuation of stranded Indians during the Iraqi invasion in 1990.
The eighty-one-year-old, a native of Kumbanad in Pathanamthitta district was sick for some time and finally passed away on Saturday, as per a news report by TOI.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that during the 1990 Gulf war, Mathews had helped thousands of Indians to flee the gulf nation and his services would always be remembered.
Mathew helped his countrymen putting his own life in danger and helped people who had lost everything in the war, and brought them back safely, Vijayan added.
“He provided food and drinking water to the stranded Indians and we remember it with gratitude,” Vijayan said.
The V P Singh government had in 1990 carried out the biggest airlift during the gulf war when over 1.5 lakh Indians were safely brought back by flights. At that time Mathews had functioned as the Central Government’s “unofficial representative” in Kuwait to coordinate the evacuation process, the Chief Minister said.