In a freak accident in the Indian state of Maharashtra, a man who wanted to bring fame to his village by building a helicopter was killed by the prototype after one of the blades slashed his throat.
Sheikh Ismail Sheikh Ibrahim, a 24-year-old school dropout from Fulsawangi village in Mahagaon tehsil in Yavatmal district, wanted to do something extraordinary to make a name for his village. He was also inspired by Bollywood movie "3 Idiots," in which its lead character Rancho/Phunsukh Wangdu is an innovative scientist and engineer known for his unconventional inventions.
Ibrahim left school after the eighth standard and started working in his elder brother's gas welding workshop, where he mastered the art of making almirahs, coolers, and other household appliances. Wanting to do something unique, he started gathering information about how to build a helicopter on YouTube. Collecting the parts alone took him two years, but he finally built the prototype of a single-seater helicopter by welding steel pipes, and fitted it with a Maruti 800 engine to power it.
His friend Sachin told Times of India, "Inspired by the character of Rancho in the film '3 Idiots', Ismail wanted to do something unique and hence decided to build a helicopter in the village. After gathering information about the design and assembly by watching YouTube videos, he started working on his dream project."
Ismail named his flying machine "Munna Helicopter" after his nickname, and was planning to showcase it to his fellow villagers on the occasion of India's Independence Day on August 15. On Tuesday, August 10, he decided to do a final trial run with his friends as all the earlier trials had been successful.
He and his friends gathered together near his workshop on Tuesday to check the prototype. The man, who according to his friends always wore a helmet and earphones on his other trials, skipped the protection on that fateful night.
Ismail started the engine from the pilot seat, and the rotor blades wings started to move speedily. However, the tail rotor blade suddenly got ripped off from the body and hit the main blades on the top. A broken blade slashed his throat, leading him to collapse on the ground.
His friends took him to the nearest hospital but he succumbed to his injuries before any medical help could be provided.
"Even before anyone could understand what was happening, a piece of the broken blade slashed Ismail's throat and he collapsed to the ground," recalled Ubale, one of his friends present during the trial. The incident was captured in a video that has been going around on Twitter.
Harish, another friend of Ismail, said about the freak accident, "He used to test the functioning of the chopper very often. Earlier, he had been successful in lifting the helicopter 5 feet above the ground. It was his final trial on Tuesday. He used to wear a helmet and headphones every time he tested the chopper. But on that night, he did not wear both."
Ismail was cremated in the presence of a large number of villagers on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the police has taken his flying machine into custody.