Locals initially thought that there was someone in the aircraft needing help
It was around 2.30 p.m. on Thursday. People of Ganapathi Nagar, a slum located on the slopes of a hill at Gajuwaka, were shaken by the deafening sound of a ‘small aircraft' crashing into the hillside a little away from their houses on the slope.
Boys of the colony rushed to the spot and saw the wings and metal parts in flames. The place, where the aircraft crashed, had no approach, but they took the risk of sliding down the hill slope as they thought there was someone in the aircraft who needed help.
“I finished my lunch and was standing outside our house when I suddenly saw an aircraft (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) flying at a low height and approaching our colony. I thought there was something wrong with it. There was a deafening sound and I saw the aircraft go up in flames,” said Varahalu Dora.
‘No proper approach'
“There is no scope of carrying water up the hill, as there is no proper approach and the place is full of bushes and shrubs. Some of us (young men) broke the branches of trees and tried to put out the fire with it. Helicopters arrived, bringing rescue personnel, minutes after the crash. I phoned the police control room and also informed the Gajuwaka police immediately,” he said.
Mr. Dora said there were around 2,500 persons living in the colony. Most of them were employed as daily wage earners in industries nearby. Had the UAV crashed on the houses in the colony, there would have been casualties.
The incident has also exposed the vulnerability of slums coming up on hill slopes.
“In the past, people used to go up the hill to collect firewood. But now, most of them have gas stoves. A pathway has virtually been formed with hundreds of people going up the hill to reach the crash site through different routes,” said K.V. Ramana, another resident.
“Helicopters fly regularly in the area. But this is the first time an aircraft crashed near our colony. The sound was deafening,” said another resident, who preferred anonymity.
Meanwhile, the police had a tough time keeping the surging crowds at bay. They warned the youths and children of the danger of slipping from the hill slope as there were a number of pebbles and loose stones on the way.
Helicopters hovering over the area and dropping rescue personnel at a nearby playground also drew curious onlookers.
Keywords: aircraft crash