Nepal's senior citizen takes first flight of life at age of 106

2013-08-20 14:54:02 GMT2013-08-20 22:54:02(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

KATHMANDU, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Born in an underprivileged family in a hilly district of Dhankuta in east Nepal, 106-year-old Bote Rai never thought that one day his long cherished dream of "flying in a plane up in the sky like a bird" would be fulfilled.

Only last Sunday, a government team comprised of health professionals visited Rai in his small hamlet, Gothgaun, to provide him with medicines for common cold and fever. It was the time when Rai expressed his desire that he wants to fly before he dies.

His last wish received wide media attention as it was covered by national dailies, TVs and online sites. His wish suddenly became the wish of the nation.

Many companies and individuals came ahead to sponsor him a flight. Finally, it was Yeti Airlines, a private airlines company, which got the opportunity to provide Rai a flight up in the sky.

Rai's flight was arranged from Biratnagar, a city in eastern Terai plains, to Kathmandu. He landed in the Nepali capital at 4: 35 p.m. on Tuesday.

Tears were rolling down from his eyes as he entered a hall at Tribhuvan International Airport already packed with the media personnel. "I'm happy," Rai was emotional while giving his first statement to media after the "flight of life" of around 45 minutes.

"My wish has come true. But I did not feel like a bird flying or that I'm inside a plane," Rai shared his true experience.

Rai's aide was his 74-year-old nephew, Man Bahadur, who himself looked old and fragile. It was the first experience of flight for Man Bahadur as well.

Both Rai and Man Bahadur will stay in a hotel for three days. They will pay homage to Pashupati, a famous temple in Gaushala, Kathmandu and other religious shrines which they like to visit.

Their return flight has been arranged for Thursday. They will be dropped until their remote village, which is some 100 km from Biratnagar airport. "We are not only making money through our business, we are also fulfilling our social responsibility," said Saral SJB Rana, deputy director of the Yeti Airlines.

During his youthfulness, Rai married thrice and had 12 children. Now he lives under the care of his nephew Man Bahadur's family.

Rai is probably the oldest person of Nepal, but it is yet to be verified.

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