M A I N   N E W S

Jindal’s copter makes emergency landing
Vivek Gupta/TNS

Chandigarh, November 19
A major tragedy was averted when an airborne private helicopter carrying Kurukshetra Member of Parliament Naveen Jindal developed a technical snag and had to make an emergency landing at Chandigarh airport at 5.32 pm today.

The emergency landing led to the cancellation of three outbound flights - JetLite, SpiceJet and GoAir - thereby inconveniencing hundreds of passengers.

The Eurocopter EC145 helicopter, powered by two engines, had taken off from the Kurukshetra University grounds at 4.50 pm and developed a snag near Chandigarh. The pilots, Capt Guliani and Capt Sudeep, sent a message to the air traffic control at Chandigarh airport, which then permitted the pilots to make an emergency landing.

Naveen’s personal assistant Vipin Kumar told The Tribune that the helicopter was scheduled to land at the VIP helipad at Rajindra Park located adjacent to the Punjab and Haryana Secretariat. “But before it could reach the VIP helipad, the pilots had to divert to Chandigarh airport where they landed safely.”

The emergency landing resulted in hundreds of passengers being harassed with three outbound flights from Chandigarh to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore being cancelled. Airport Director HS Toor said all three flights scheduled to depart after 5 pm had to be cancelled as the emergency landing led to the blocking of the runway. This left hundreds of irate passengers stranded.

Although the runway was cleared for take off and landing by 8.30 pm, it was too late as the airport, which is operated by the Indian Air Force, does not permit take off and landing by civil flights after 8 pm.

GoAir local manager Vinod Raina said around 180 passengers booked on the flight were affected as their Chandigarh-Mumbai flight scheduled to depart at 7 pm could not take off. Most passengers were forced to travel by road to Delhi to continue with their onward journey.

“Had a snag in the helicopter and pilots made a good landing at Chandigarh Airport. All is well. Thanks for the concern,” Naveen later tweeted.

Kareena stranded

Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor, who was in Chandigarh for a brand promotion event and was to take a flight to Delhi in the evening, was stranded at the airport. She later left by road to Delhi, airport sources said.

Ghosts of the past

Naveen’s father OP Jindal, a former Haryana Power Minister, was killed in a helicopter crash near Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh in 2005. Former Chief Minister Bansi Lal’s son Surinder Singh, too, was killed in the crash. 





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