Rahul Gandhi flight 'nosedives' en route Hubli, Congress alleges foul play, FIR filed

An FIR has reportedly been filed against the pilots flying the plane carrying Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his aides from New Delhi to Hubli, which "nosedived, shuddered and tilted dangerously" Thursday before noon. Hours after the Congress registered a complaint with the Karnataka's DGP, an FIR is said to have been registered at Gokul Police Station in Hubli and the complaint is likely to be sent to the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Rahul Gandhi is an SPG protectee and was on a chartered flight VT- AVH owned by Religare Aviation limited. Rahul Gandhi is on a two-day visit to Karnataka's Uttara Kannada, Dahskina Kannada, Kodagu and Mysuru areas to campaign ahead of the state assembly elections on 12 May. News wire ANI reports the DGCA reaction to the flight snag is that it's not "uncommon". "It was snag of autopilot mode and pilot shifted to manual & landed safely. Such autopilot incidents are not uncommon. For any VIP flight, DGCA examines in detail. We shall do here also", DGCA told ANI.

Kaushal Vidyarthee, travelling alongwith Rahul Gandhi, wrote to Karnataka DGP Neelamani Raju about 'unexplained technical failures' during the flight. 'Shuddering & altitude dipping were not natural or weather related', he said in the initial complaint which says the flight took off from New Delhi "tentatively around 9:20 am".

Rahul Gandhi

File image of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Twitter@INCIndia

In the letter, Vidyarthee elaborates on the moment the aircraft lost altitude: "...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. 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 for the day. A clanking noise was clearly audible from one side of the plane throughput the shuddering of the aircraft body. It was also learnt that the autopilot of the aircraft was not functioning. An attempt was made to land the aircraft at Hubli three times and it finally landed on the third attempt."

"This is serious case of aviation mechanics failure. A serious accident was averted. A formal complaint has been submitted... to inquire into entire matter including possibility of foul play which led to technical slag, failure of autopilot and failure of rudders, which is completely unprecedented," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.

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Updated Date: Apr 27, 2018 04:33:22 IST

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