Devendra Fadnavis’ overloaded chopper force-lands, no casualties

Nashik; A helicopter carrying Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis force-landed here on Saturday as it was “overloaded”, an official said.

The incident occurred at around 9.30 a.m., when Fadnavis, accompanied by Water Resources Minister Girish Mahajan and others were travelling to Aurangabad from Nashik, the Minister’s aide, Santosh Bari said.

“As it took off from an open ground, the helicopter could barely ascend 50 feet or so and couldn’t fly further, compelling the pilot to land a few metres away,” Bari told IANS.

The chopper had apparently become overloaded and could not fly with the extra weight, so Fadnavis’ cook and his bags were off-loaded before it took off normally after sometime, he said.

Fadnavis and his entourage reached Aurangabad after the 25 minute flight, while the cook and bags followed by road, a journey of nearly three hours, according to Bari.

The incident alarmed the security and civil officials since there have been at least three other incidents involving Fadnavis’ VVIP aircraft in the past couple of years, including a chopper crash in Latur in May from which Fadnavis emerged unscathed.