Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s narrowly escaped yet another helicopter mishap in Raigad district

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis's narrowly escaped yet another helicopter mishap in Raigad district

New Delhi,July8:Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s luck held out once again on Friday when he narrowly escaped yet another helicopter mishap, this time in Raigad district, just before he could board it.

This is the second time that the CM has had a close shave with the flying machines – on May 25, he and his team had escaped unhurt after their chopper crashed shortly after take-off in Latur.

On Friday afternoon, Fadnavis and Minister for education, culture and sports Vinod Tawde were returning from Alibaug to Mumbai after inaugurating the first-ever theatre auditorium built on a cooperative model.

The chopper’s engine was already running when Fadnavis was about to board it. Moments before he could, the chopper started to move and turned direction as well, sending the CM and his entourage scurrying back for cover to get away from the rogue craft.

Fortunately, the pilot managed to control the bird immediately, and the flight proceeded smoothly thereafter.

On reaching his Mumbai office, Fadnavis sought an explanation from Sanjay Karve, the director for Civil Aviation for Maharashtra. Sources said Karve, who had already spoken to the pilots, briefed the CM on what may have gone wrong with the chopper.

Karve explained to DNA that choppers are kept in auto-centering mode and once the rotors start, its weight is transferred from the wheels to the engine, making it lighter. After vertical landing, the chopper is parked with its nose either slightly to the left or right, instead of straight ahead, and that this straightens out once the engine is started. It is likely, he said, that the CM was trying to board at the same time that the chopper was righting itself, leading to the panic.

Raigad Superintendent of Police Anil Karaskar told DNA that some chopper engines are not switched off and that it may have become unstable when the CM tried to board it in with the engine running.

Paraskar added that had there been any problem, the CM’s security would not have allowed Fadnavis to re-enter the chopper.

The chief minister’s office has also issued a statement dismissing rumours claiming the chopper had crashed while returning from Alibaug.