Bamra: A number of BJP leaders had a close shave after the helicopter they were travelling in had to make an emergency landing on rough terrain in Kinabaga panchayat’s Jarabaga village of this block in Sambalpur district, Thursday. The helicopter had exhausted its fuel.
Among the occupants were BJP state general secretary Lekhashree Samantasinghar, cine artiste Shreetam Das and Sambalpur MP candidate Nitesh Ganga Deb.
The chopper had first gone from Bhubaneswar to Naktideula in Sambalpur, where the three attended an election meeting. The mean machine again took off carrying the occupants to Manapali near Gadaposh where they were to attend another poll rally.
The pilot instead of flying towards the designated helipad at Manapali flew the copter towards another helipad at Jarabaga, reportedly created for the BJD. Seeing a BJD meeting going on there, he had no option but to make an emergency landing on farmland, 200 metres from the helipad.
Arundhati, Lekhashree and Shreetam had no option but to wait in the scorching heat till help arrived. As soon as the news of the emergency landing spread, people, including the media, made a beeline to see the helicopter and its occupants.
Kuchinda sub divisional police officer (SDPO) Raj Kishore Mishra, Mahulapali police station IIC Jyostnarani Behera reached the spot and brought the situation under control.
The pilot later stated that because of the GPS failure he had flown to Jarabaga. When he realised the error, he tried to fly to Manapali, but as the fuel tanks had gone dry, he was forced to make an emergency landing.
Fuel was then ferried across from Manapali, but it reached the chopper after a two-hour delay. Hence the four could not attend the meeting at Manapali and instead visited another rally at Chhendipada.