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IAF orders inquiry into incident involving Presidents’s copter

IAF orders inquiry into incident involving Presidents’s copter

New Delhi: The Indian Air Force has instituted a Court of Inquiry into an incident when the rotor blades of a helicopter carrying President Pratibha Patil hit a shed at the Bhubaneshwar airport on Wednesday.

“A Court of Inquiry has been ordered into the incident," IAF spokesperson Wing Commander T K Singha said in New Delhi.

“The helicopter was returning from Puri and Konark and had landed at the Bhubaneshwar airport. While taxiing in, its blades hit a shed near the parking bay and were damaged. The incident took place around 1700 hours today. Everyone in the chopper are safe," he said.

The President carried on with her programme as usual after the incident, Singha said adding Patil, her husband Devi Singh Shekhawat and Orissa Governor M C Bhandari were being flown in a VVIP entourage of three Mi-8 VVIP helicopters of the IAF.

The DGCA will also probe various aspects of the incident, official sources said.

This is the second major incident involving helicopters of the Presidential entourage.

The first incident was a near-collision between choppers of the VVIP fleet and an Air India aircraft at Mumbai airport on 9 February.

The incident had occurred when the helicopters landed on the tarmac when Air India’s flight IC-866 was picking up speed for take off. The AI pilot averted an accident by aborting take off and swerving to the taxi way in a matter of seconds.

A probe, jointly carried out by the IAF and the DGCA, had found that the IAF chopper landed on the runway without clearance from the air traffic control.

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