Close call for Congress leaders as aircraft's tyre bursts

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Manikrao Thakre and 3 party cadres had just landed at Amravati airport for campaigning when the incident occurred; all fliers safe

It was a lucky escape for three top Congress party leaders, when the tyre of the chartered aircraft carrying them burst while landing at Amravati airport yesterday afternoon.

Ghulam Nabi Azad and Manikrao Thakre had just landed at the
Amravati airport for campaigning when the incident occurred

Union Minister for Health Ghulam Nabi Azad, Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Manikrao Thakre and National General Secretary of Congress Mohan Prakash were among the five people on board the Tata Air five-seater hired for Congress campaign in the state.

The incident, second such mishap in two weeks, occurred around 1 pm. The aircraft was taxiing at a high speed when the burst took place, and it came to a halt only after getting dragged for one kilometre in the damaged condition. The passengers were all safe.

"It was a close shave. I was with four other people including Union minister Azad. We had boarded the flight from Mumbai to Nagpur to campaign for the polls. We then flew to Akola to attend the scheduled rallies, and then to Amravati, where while landing, one of the tyres burst.

The aircraft lost its balance and could only stop after pitching forth for one kilometre. All the passenger aboard the craft were, unaffected," Thakre said.

After the incident, the Amravati airport that falls under the jurisdiction of Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited (MADC), rushed its emergency services including fire and ambulance to rescue the people on board, airport officials told this newspaper.
"We have reported the matter to agencies including DGCA; they are looking into the matter," an Amravati airport official told MiD DAY.

A major air tragedy was averted on January 27 this year at Lucknow airport. An aircraft ferrying Union Minister Jairam Ramesh and senior UP Congress leader Pramod Tewari, after landing at the airport, took a sudden turn and came close to the aircraft of Saudia Arabia Airlines that was lined up for departure.

DGCA's safety tips
With the ongoing election campaigns in five states in full swing, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued an air safety circular last month, detailing safety guidelines for the operation of small aircraft and helicopters.
In a bid to ensure safety of VIPs flying by helicopter and small-chartered aircraft, the DGCA has dispatched a detailed list of dos and don'ts to the chief secretaries of the states going to polls. The regulator has also asked the aircraft operators to submit their flying programmes to the regional DGCA offices.

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