Narrow escape for President, Orissa Governor


The southern Man
Senior Member
Jul 15, 2009
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Narrow escape for President, Orissa Governor

President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday had a narrow escape when an IAF Mi-17 helicopter in which she was on board was involved in an accident after landing at the airport here.The 75-year-old Ms. Patil and other passengers that included her husband Devisingh Shekhawat and Orissa Governor M.C. Bhandare escaped unhurt and were safe, a senior police official said.

IAF has ordered a Court of Inquiry into the incident.

The accident happened when three blades of the helicopter which was bringing Ms. Patil and others back from Puri hit an abandoned asbestos shed around 5 pm, the official said.The weather at the time of the incident was clear, he added.

The three blades got twisted and the roof of the shed was ripped off after being struck, Sanjay Jain, Director of the Biju Patnaik Airport said the shed, which was once a hangar, was being used as a store-room, he added.

The President’s Secretary Christie Fernandes spoke to Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and said there should be a thorough probe. A Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson described the incident as minor.“The incident took place when the helicopter was taxiing from the runway to the tarmac. On the way, the blades of the helicopter hit a wall of an abandoned structure. The President is safe and so are all other passengers”, she said in New Delhi.A major collision was averted at Mumbai airport on February 9 after an IAF chopper, part of Patil's helicopter convoy, was given clearance to land on a runway on which an Air India flight had been cleared for take-off.

Air Marshal (retd) Denzil Keelor, an aviation expert, said the incident involving Patil's chopper was "serious."

The Hindu : News / National : Narrow escape for President, Orissa Governor

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