Mumbai: Mi-17 chopper turns MMRDA ground into a tourist spot

Locals swarmed MMRDA grounds in BKC yesterday afternoon, not for a music concert, but to see a Mi-17 helicopter — that was out on a routine sortie — make an emergency landing

Residents of BKC had an unlikely visitor yesterday afternoon. An Indian Air Force Mi-17 helicopter that was out on a routine training sortie, had to make an emergency landing at the MMRDA grounds in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), after it experienced a technical problem.

Police personnel had a hard time keeping curious onlookers at bay at the MMRDA ground yesterday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Police personnel had a hard time keeping curious onlookers at bay at the MMRDA ground yesterday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The helicopter is said to have faced hydraulic failure, due to which it had to make the emergency landing. There was no damage to the aircraft or to any of the crewmembers. The incident took place at 2.20 pm yesterday, after which the BKC police immediately reached the spot and cordoned off the area.

As soon as the news of the sortie landing at the MMRDA grounds spread, a technical support team was dispatched to assess the aircraft. “There was a huge crowd. Locals had gathered near the sortie and had made the situation uncontrollable.

As soon as we reached the ground vacating the area, keeping the locals away from the sortie had become a crucial task,” said a policeman at the MMRDA ground.

Locals had a field day
Seeing a helicopter fly that close to the ground startled several locals, who had a field day observing a helicopter make an emergency landing. Naeem Khan, a resident of Bandra Kurla Complex, who had just returned from his afternoon prayers, saw the aircraft flying at a level he had never seen before.

However, Khan was thankful that local children, who frequent the ground for playing cricket, were not present when the landing happened. Rais Khan, who runs a canteen in the area, said, “We are used to seeing helicopters flying in the area but this helicopter made a loud noise while descending.

All of us ran to see the landing only. This is the first time I have ever got an opportunity to see a helicopter land and take off.” While the sortie landed at 2.20 pm, it could take off for the Santacruz airport only at 5.42 pm.

By then, MMRDA ground had almost turned into a tourist spot as many passer-bys had halted to see what was indeed a rare occurrence. Rajendra Yadav, an auto rickshaw driver who saw the sortie at the grounds, went home to pick up his son and wife to show them something they would have never seen otherwise.

He said, “I was passing by when I saw the helicopter and decided to get my family here as well, hoping to surprise them. They surely wouldn’t have been able to see a helicopter take off otherwise.”

Official speak
A statement issued by the defence wing stated, “A Mi-17 helicopter of the Indian Air Force was on a routine sortie from Santacruz Airport this afternoon. During the sortie the aircraft developed a technical problem and carried out a precautionary landing at Bandra Kurla Complex Area, Mumbai. The aircraft and all four personnel on board are safe. Technical and ground support teams have been positioned on site to assess the aircraft.”

Voices

Rais Khan, Owns a canteen in the area
We are used to seeing helicopters flying in the area but this helicopter made a loud noise while descending. This is the first time I have ever got an opportunity to see a helicopter land and take off.

Rajendra Yadav, Rickshaw driver, was there with his family
I was passing by when I saw the helicopter and decided to get my family here as well, hoping to surprise them. They surely wouldn’t have been able to see a helicopter take off otherwise.

Naeem Khan, BKC resident
Usually, children play cricket inside the ground. But thankfully, they were not present here today when the helicopter made an emergency landing.

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