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Rahul Gandhi air scare LIVE UPDATES: DGCA forms two-member committee to probe technical snag, report likely in three weeks

Rahul Gandhi air scare LIVE UPDATES: Alleging conspiracy behind the technical fault in Rahul Gandhi's flight, the Congress has registered a complaint with the DGP of Karnataka.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 27, 2018 2:00:28 pm
Rahul Gandhi air scare LIVE UPDATES: Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to visit Hubli for his election campaign in Karnataka. (Express photo by Anil Sharma)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi went through a panicked situation mid-air when his flight en route Hubli developed a technical snag on Thursday. The Congress scion was scheduled to visit Hubli as part of the ongoing campaign in the Karnataka assembly elections. The Congress alleging “intentional tampering” filed an FIR against the pilots and demanded that the matter be probed at the highest priority.

According to the complaint filed by Rahul’s aide, Kaushal Vidyarthee, the flight took off around 9.20 am. Besides Rahul and Vidyarthee, an SPG officer was also on board the flight. “At around 10:45 am, the aircraft suddenly tilted heavily on the left side and the altitude dipped steeply, combined with violent shuddering of the aircraft body… The weather outside was sunny, normal and not windy… A clanking noise was clearly audible from one side of the plane throughout the shuddering of the aircraft body. It was also learnt that the autopilot of the aircraft was not functioning,” said the complaint, addressed to Karnataka Director General and Inspector General of Police Neelmani N Raju.

Rahul Gandhi is yet to make any comments on the incident.

Read | Congress complaint alleges ‘intentional tampering’ of Rahul Gandhi’s flight to Hubli 

Live Blog

Rahul Gandhi's flight to Karanataka develops snag, Congress party alleges conspiracy

Highlights

  • 23:10 (IST)

    Police confirm the incident

    Hubli Police Commissioner M N Nagaraj and DCP (Law and Order) Renuka Sukumar have confirmed the incident. 

    "Yes, we have received a complaint about some unexplained turbulence of the aircraft," Renuka Sukumar told PTI. She said, "We have registered a complaint under Section 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery) and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the IPC." The complaint that names the two pilots was filed by KPCC General Secretary Shakir Sanadi, she said.

  • 23:01 (IST)

    Rahul Gandhi flight snag: FIR being filed against pilots

    Reports from Bangalore say an FIR is being taken up in Gokul Road police station against the pilots on the complaint of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Shakir Sannadhi under sections 287 and 336 of the IPC read with Section 11 of Aircraft Act 1934.

    • Section 287 of the Indian Penal Code pertains to negligent conduct with respect to machinery.
    • Section 336, meanwhile, pertains to endangering life or personal safety of others.

  • 22:53 (IST)

    DGCA to examine in detail

    "Operator has reported the incident to us.As per operator report, it was snag of autopilot mode and pilot shifted to manual mode and landed
    safely. Shut off autopilot incidents are not uncommon. For any VIP flight, DGCA examines it in detail. We shall do here also," a source in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.

13:44 (IST)27 Apr 2018
Two member committee to probe autopilot incident

As per operator's report, it was snag of autopilot mode, pilot shifted to manual mode and the aircraft landed safely. Autopilot failure incidents aren't uncommon.  A two-member committee set up to probe the incident. The report is likely to come in two-three weeks, said DGCA.

07:09 (IST)27 Apr 2018
DGCA to investigate the matter

Sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said the regulator would investigate the incident. “The operator has reported the incident to us. As per operator’s report, it was a snag of autopilot mode, and the pilot shifted to manual mode and landed safely. Shutdown of autopilot incidents are not uncommon. For any VIP flight, the DGCA conducts a detailed examination. We shall do so here also,” said a source in the DGCA.

07:04 (IST)27 Apr 2018
'Suspicious and faulty performance of aircraft not natural'

It was apparent from the suspicious and faulty performance of the aircraft that the incidents of shuddering and altitude dipping were not natural or weather related, but were due to some technical snags. Serious questions related to intentional tampering with the aircraft cannot also be brushed aside and are required to be addressed and investigated, says Rahul's aide who accompanied him in flight. 

06:51 (IST)27 Apr 2018
'Rahul was with the crew'

00:57 (IST)27 Apr 2018
Serious case of aviation mechanics failure: Surjewala

'What happened to his plane is a serious case of aviation mechanics failure. A complaint letter has been written to the DGCA to look at all aspects of the matter, including that of possible foul play,' Congress party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, reported ANI.  "At one point, the plane had tilted to one side, as the autopilot mode had failed. However, throughout this time, he (Rahul Gandhi) remained calm & composed & kept assuring others that they would all safely land in Hubbali," he added

23:57 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Copy of the FIR filed against the pilots
23:32 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Rahul Gandhi was on his way to Karnataka

The flight scare happened while Rahul Gandhi was on his way to Karnataka. Gandhi is on a two-day visit to Karnataka. He will be campaigning in the districts of Uttara Kannada, Dahskina Kannada, Kodagu and Mysuru, ahead of the polls in the state on May 12

23:10 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Police confirm the incident

Hubli Police Commissioner M N Nagaraj and DCP (Law and Order) Renuka Sukumar have confirmed the incident. 

"Yes, we have received a complaint about some unexplained turbulence of the aircraft," Renuka Sukumar told PTI. She said, "We have registered a complaint under Section 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery) and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the IPC." The complaint that names the two pilots was filed by KPCC General Secretary Shakir Sanadi, she said.

23:06 (IST)26 Apr 2018
What is Section 11 of the Aircraft Act, 1934

Section 11 of the Aircraft Act deals with the oenalty for flying so as to cause danger. '—Whoever wilfully flies any aircraft in such a manner as to cause danger to any person or to any property on land or water or in the air shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both,' it says. 

23:01 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Rahul Gandhi flight snag: FIR being filed against pilots

Reports from Bangalore say an FIR is being taken up in Gokul Road police station against the pilots on the complaint of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary Shakir Sannadhi under sections 287 and 336 of the IPC read with Section 11 of Aircraft Act 1934.

  • Section 287 of the Indian Penal Code pertains to negligent conduct with respect to machinery.
  • Section 336, meanwhile, pertains to endangering life or personal safety of others.
22:57 (IST)26 Apr 2018
'Thankful for being alive'

22:55 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Congress tweets out copy of complaint

22:53 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Congress statement on what happened to the flight

According to the complaint filed by Congress, the aircraft in which Rahul Gandhi was travelling titled suddenly to the left at around 10.45 am and the altitude dipped steeply, combined with violent shuddering of the aircraft body. A clanking noise could be heard from one side of the plane and the autopilot was also not functioning.

The plane eventually landed at Hubli at around 11.30 am while continuously shaking and making unusual audible sounds. The crew also admitted that the flight was particularly frightening and uncommon, the complaint stated.

Alleging conspiracy, the Congress in its complaint said that the flight experienced incidents of shuddering and altitude drooping were not natural considering the weather outside was sunny and not windy

22:53 (IST)26 Apr 2018
DGCA to examine in detail

"Operator has reported the incident to us.As per operator report, it was snag of autopilot mode and pilot shifted to manual mode and landed
safely. Shut off autopilot incidents are not uncommon. For any VIP flight, DGCA examines it in detail. We shall do here also," a source in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.

22:38 (IST)26 Apr 2018

Here is the complaint that Congress has filed with the DGP of Karnataka.

22:32 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Aircarft owned by Religare

The aircraft in question, VT- AVH, is a Falcon 2000 owned by Religare Aviation limited. It was registered at Nehru Place, Delhi on 04-02-2011. 

A Falcon 2000 (representative image)

22:31 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Unexplained technical snag in Rahul Gandhi's flight

The Congress chief, who is on his seventh leg of campaigning in Karnataka ahead of the Assembly election on May 12, took a chopper from Hubli to Ankola and continued with the scheduled rallies. 

22:29 (IST)26 Apr 2018
Congress files complaint of technical fault in Rahul Gandhi's flight

“It is to be stated that the weather outside was sunny, normal and not windy as per the observation of the passengers and as per the forecast of the day,” the complaint letter reads. 

“The whole flight experience of the flight left the passengers with a lot of anxiety and stress, and positively fearing for their lives. The crew was also petrified and admitted that the flight was particularly frightening and uncommon,” it adds.

Rahul Gandhi's flight to Karnataka develops technical fault. Follow LIVE UPDATES here
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