Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda, his wife and four others were injured on Wednesday after their helicopter crash-landed at Birsa Munda airport following a technical snag.
Munda, his wife, Meera, MLA Barkuwar Gagrai and security-in-charge Manoj Singh were going to an official function in Seraikela-Kharsawan district, nearly 150 km south of Ranchi.
According to sources in the civil aviation department, on reaching the helipad in Seraikela-Kharsawan at around 11am, the helicopter developed a technical snag, due to which the pilot was unable to land and asked for directions from the air traffic control (ATC) in Ranchi. It circled for about 15 minutes above the helipad before being directed to return to Ranchi.On reaching Ranchi, the pilot circled the airport till the fuel was almost exhausted. He then brought it down as close to the ground as possible before crash-landing it from a height of 10-15 feet on to the helipad.
The CM and his entourage were immediately rushed to the Apollo hospital.
While being wheeled on a trolley for an MRI scan, the chief minister told HT, “I am fine.”
Jharkhand civil aviation department chief Captain SP Sinha said, “The copter is around 15 years old but the crash has nothing to do with it. The directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA) has ordered an inquiry into the incident.”
A DGCA team arrived in Ranchi on Wednesday evening to conduct an inquiry.
Dr PD Sinha, medical superintendent at the Apollo hospital, said, “All are well. They sustained minor injuries due to the impact of the fall from a height.”
Congress leader Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu has demanded a high-level probe into the incident.