Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda, his wife and four others on Wednesday suffered minor injuries after the helicopter in which they were travelling crash-landed after multiple attempts to land at the Birsa Munda airport here.
According to airport authorities, the copter fell from a height of 30 feet, landed upside down and suffered damage.
The party comprised the Chief Minister's wife Meera, a BJP MLA, Barkuanr Gagrai, two pilots and a security officer. All of them were taken to the Apollo Hospital here, but there were no critical injuries. The Chief Minister is in the intensive care unit; he fractured his arm and injured his ankle.
The Augusta AW109 helicopter had developed technical problems soon after taking off from here, and the pilot refrained from landing at the helipad at Kuchai in Sareikela-Kharsawan district, about 100 km from here, and turned back at 12.30 p.m. The Chief Minister was on his way to inaugurate a power sub-station at Kuchai. The weather was clear.
Following the accident, flight operations at the Ranchi airport were suspended.
Director General of Police G.S. Rath spoke to the media here and explained the circumstances of the crash-landing.
Both the pilots, Kumar Singh and G.P.S. Kaushik, and security officer Manoj Singh, suffered external injuries and fractures. The crew had alerted the Ranchi airport of the emergency and a crisis team was ready. A fire risk was averted.
Apollo Hospital Superintendent P.D. Sinha said: “All the six people are doing well. There are no serious injuries. Security Officer Manoj Singh is under observation in the ICU. Mr. Munda's condition is fine…We carried out magnetic resonance imaging tests on all the injured persons and the results are satisfactory.”
In New Delhi, the Director General of Civil Aviation ordered an inquiry.
Earlier this month, a helicopter in which Mr. Munda was flying had made an emergency landing in Jamshedpur's Sonari airport owing to bad weather.