Rahul Gandhi's plane had 'common' autopilot mode failure, says DGCA; forms committee to probe matter

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday set up a two-member committee to probe allegations of “intentional tampering” of a special flight ferrying Congress president Rahul Gandhi and four others in Karnataka on Thursday, according to media reports.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, a senior DGCA offical said, "The operator has reported the incident to us (DGCA). According to the operator’s report, it was a snag of the auto pilot mode and the pilot shifted to the manual mode and landed the aircraft safely."

The pilot and the crew of the aircraft have been questioned, the report added.

 Rahul Gandhis plane had common autopilot mode failure, says DGCA; forms committee to probe matter

File image of Congress president Rahul Gandhi. PTI

The regulator also said that autopilot failures are not uncommon. The aircraft VT-AVH, was a Dassault Falcon 2000 owned by Religare Aviation Ltd, The Indian Express reported.

According to NDTV, for any VIP plane, DGCA examines the shutting of the auto-pilot. The two-member committee will file its report in two weeks.

A mid-air scare occurred on Rahul Gandhi's flight after it made a rough landing at Hubli. Later, the Congress filed a complaint alleging that it could be an "intentional sabotage" to endanger Rahul's life.

The complaint said that the plane shuddered violently, tilted to one side and made cranking noises, following which the altitude dropped. The complainant said that the weather outside was sunny and normal, and hence could not be the cause of turbulence experienced by the passengers.

It also claimed that the cabin crew too were petrified and said that the snags were "particularly frightening and uncommon."

According to India Today, Rahul Gandhi is a Special Protection Group protectee and, along with the prime minister, gets the highest level of security in India.

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Updated Date: Apr 27, 2018 15:18:56 IST