On day of copter disasters, TMC, Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders have lucky escape

Ghatal TMC MP Dev Adhikari and Sena (UBT) leader Sushma Andhare suffer helicopter mishaps on same day

Dev campaigns in Nadia district (photo: @idevadhikari/X)
Dev campaigns in Nadia district (photo: @idevadhikari/X)


Actor and the Trinamool Congress' Ghatal MP Deepak 'Dev' Adhikari had a close shave on Friday when his helicopter caught fire soon after taking off from Malda helipad, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing, police said.

Adhikari, popularly known to fans as Dev, was unharmed and later travelled by road to reach his subsequent destination in Raninagar for another election rally, officials said.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee telephoned Dev and enquired about the situation. "It's natural that there will be a little trauma. This turbulence, smoke, and smell have a psychological effect on me. I called the CM and told her I didn't want to take the helicopter and instead would prefer the road to reach my next meeting at Raninagar in Murshidabad," Dev said.

Dev was in Malda to attend an election campaign for the candidate for Malda (Uttar) Lok Sabha constituency, Prasun Banerjee. The TMC MP said, "I survived with people's love and blessings. I saw death so closely... But I am fine now."

A senior officer of Malda Police told PTI that the fire could have been triggered owing to a technical glitch.

Wreckage of the copter scheduled to pick up Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sushma Andhare (photo: PTI)
Wreckage of the copter scheduled to pick up Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sushma Andhare (photo: PTI)

Earlier on Friday, the pilot of a private helicopter scheduled to pick up a Shiv Sena (UBT) leader was injured after it toppled over while landing in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, a police official said. The chopper was to ferry Sushma Andhare of the Sena (UBT) for a public election rally, he said.

The helicopter tilted as the pilot tried to land on a makeshift helipad at Mahad at around 9.30 am, said Raigad superintendent of police Somnath Gharge.

Prima facie, the helicopter was enveloped by dust as it was about to touch down, which may have caused the accident, the official said. The rotor blades were broken and the chopper was partially damaged, he added, and said the pilot was injured and rushed to hospital.

Andhare was in Mahad for an election rally of the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) candidate Anant Gite, nominated by the Sena (UBT) from Raigad Lok Sabha constituency, Gharge said.

Andhare, who was also live-streaming the helicopter’s landing on Facebook, said she was to go to Baramati in Pune district to attend a campaign-related programme along with her brother Vishal Gupte. “We realised the helicopter was approaching, but it was taking time to land. Suddenly, it crashed and was covered in a cloud of dust,” she said.

The Sena (UBT) leader said the pilot and co-pilot have not “suffered any major injuries, but are in shock”.

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