Hit by poor weather, chopper carrying Maharashtra guv forced to change course
A helicopter carrying Maharashtra governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao was forced to change course, after it was stuck in turbulent weather near Nanded on Friday, sparking a safety scare.
The governor is on a three-day tour across Nanded, Aurangabad and Dhule.
Officials said the chopper, a 12-seater Sikorsky S-76C++ that the state uses to ferry VIPs, reached its destination 25 minutes late because of the sudden weather build up after take-off from Nanded city. The eastbound chopper was forced to turn northward to avoid the turbulent weather system, they said.
But local authorities said the chopper had lost its way.
“Although we use all-weather choppers that can fly at night and through fog, they are not capable of penetrating turbulent weather. A detour was taken to avoid this weather system,” said captain Sanjay Karve, director general of aviation with the state government, who was also flying the helicopter. Karve said the weather the chopper encountered is known as high-temperature turbulence, common during summers. “When the temperature touches 46 degrees Celsius, such weather systems develop and last for around two hours.”
An inquiry has been ordered by the national aviation safety regulator directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA). “Preliminary reports suggest the chopper took a detour because of poor weather. But, we might question the pilot, as initial updates indicate the crew had the wrong coordinates,” said a senior DGCA official, requesting anonymity.
The chopper was also forced to fly back to Nanded to pick up additional fuel. “The fuel was just about enough for a flight from Jawarla (where the chopper flew with the Governor from Nanded) to Aurangabad. But as we had encountered sudden erratic weather, we decided to go back to Nanded to pick up the extra fuel,” Karve said.
Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu B Chavan appealed to people not to sacrifice cattle for the Bakrid festival while warning of stern action against the offenders. The Minister emphasised the Cow Slaughter Prohibition Act has already been in force in Karnataka. Generally, during the Bakrid festival, there is a tradition of sacrifice, for which livestock such as cow, ox, calf and camels are also used, said Chavan.
Chandigarh Chandigarh administrator Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday gave in-principle approval for a synthetic running track at Sukhna Lake. UT adviser Dharam Pal, said, “The Chandigarh Heritage Conservation Committee had earlier given its go-ahead for the proposal. Next, the detailed plan and cost estimates will be prepared; and then, tenders will be floated for the project.” A UT official said the proposed track is part of the administration's efforts to give Sukhna Lake a major facelift.
The National Highway Authority of India has approved two over-bridges, which are likely to reduce travel time between Kalka and Zirakpur and alleviate traffic jams on the stretch by next year. NHAI has already floated tenders for the 60-m wide over-bridges, which will be constructed at a cost of ₹50 crore. It has invited bids for the “construction and site improvement of the four-lane national highway (NH-22) on the Zirakpur-Parwanoo junction.”
Fifteen students had a narrow escape after their school bus skidded into a waterlogged open drain in Daulat Singhwala village in Phabat area of Zirakpur. The bus, which was ferrying students of Blue Bird High School, Sector 16, Panchkula, was making way for another school bus when it skidded into the overflowing drain. The bus tilted in the drain, but passersby and parents were able to rescue the children through the driver's window.
Tricity residents woke up to heavy rainfall for the second time this month on Wednesday. Three people went missing after a taxi, shuttling two commuters, was swept away in a flashflood in the Patiala-Ki-Rao rivulet as the driver attempted to cross the causeway in Tanda Village near Nayagaon. The owner of the vehicle, Rakesh Kumar told the police that Gaurav had called him saying two people, travelling to Baddi, had booked his cab.