A man who was presumed dead in a plane crash 45 years ago, finally returned home to his 92-year-old mother.

Sajad Thangal, who hails from the Kollam district of Kerala, India, was presumed dead after the Indian Airlines Flight 171 crashed in Mumbai on October 12, 1976.

Thangal was 19-years-old when he left his home in 1972 to work as an organizer who brought artists from Kerala to various art events in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

He occasionally visited his home until 1976, when he accompanied a cultural troupe that included renowned Indian film actress Rani Chandra to UAE.

The group was returning home when the flight crashed soon after taking off from the Mumbai airport, killing all 89 passengers and six crew members.

Thangal had also booked a ticket to come home by the same flight and his family and friends assumed that he was one of the victims.

However, what they didn’t know was that Thangal had canceled his trip at the last minute. 

Thangal was deeply disturbed after learning that he had lost his close friend in the crash. He decided to stay away from everything and began a life in exile. He continued living in Mumbai and engaged in different works. 

Years passed and age-related ailments began to plague him. He was taken to an old age home in Mumbai’s Panvel where he was bedridden. 

It was only last week that Thangal’s family was informed that he is alive. He met his family members through a virtual meet arranged by a TV program.

His brothers traveled to Mumbai and brought him home on Saturday, July 31. Hundreds waited outside his home to witness the emotional reunion.

Thangal’s mother, 92-year-old Fathima Beevi, had been eagerly waiting for her son’s return. Her ailments and anxiety gave way to tears when she finally saw him. The mother kissed and embraced her son with a big smile as onlookers watched with tearful eyes.

"What more can I ask for? Nothing can bring me more joy. This is god’s will and this has happened, God has a plan for everything," Thangal said after he reached home.

People in the community hosted a 'reception' at Thangal’s home and cut a cake to celebrate his return.

Airplane crash Representational image. Pixabay.