New Delhi: Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda’s chopper accident on Wednesday has put the spotlight back on aerial crashes in India, where helicopters are frequently used to ferry VIPs. Several leaders were killed while others, like Munda, had narrow escapes.
Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Khandu was killed on April 30, 2011, when a helicopter carrying him and four other people from Tawang to Itanagar crashed in a forest.
YS Rajasekhara Reddy, the AP chief minister, died when his Bell 430 helicopter crashed in a forest while flying to a village in Chitoor on Sep 3, 2009.
Haryana ministers OP Jindal, also a noted industrialist, and Surendra Singh were killed when the chopper carrying them went down near Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh on March 31, 2005.
Then Lok Sabha speaker and Telugu Desam Party leader GMC Balayogi died in a chopper Bell 206 crash on March 3, 2002 in West Godavari of AP.
Dera Natung, the Arunachal Pradesh education minister, and five others were killed when their Pawan Hans craft crashed near Tawang because of poor visibility in May 2001.
Madhavrao Scindia, a royal scion from Madhya Pradesh and a former Congress cabinet minister, was killed in a plane crash on Sep 30, 2001 on his way to Kanpur.
Then Punjab governor Surendra Nath and 12 others, including nine of his family, were killed when a state government plane crashed in a mountainous region of Himachal Pradesh, minutes after taking off on July 9, 1994.
The lucky ones
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and union ministers Prithviraj Chauhan and Kumari Selja had a miraculous escape in 2004 when the rear portion of their chopper broke on landing at a helipad in Khanvel in south Gujarat.
Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh also survived one such chopper accident when the chopper hit electrical wires soon after taking off. The cables snapped and the chopper crash-landed from a relatively low height.
Then BJP president Rajnath Singh and senior leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had a miraculous escape in 2008 when they were travelling to Rampur. The chopper landed close to a pile of dry grass that caught fire. The pilot immediately took off and landed at a safe place.