The visit of President Pranab Kumar Mukherjee to the town on Saturday was marred by a serious breach of security protocol when one of the three helicopters went off the agreed path and landed at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium instead of the police parade grounds.
According to District Collector Mini Antony, as per the agreed protocol, the third chopper, which carried supporting staff and baggage, was to land at the police parade grounds ahead of the other two and then return to Jawaharlal Nehru stadium where its parking space was arranged.
The first and second choppers arrived at the police parade grounds as scheduled. However, the third chopper went directly to its parking lot and the officials and baggage had to be ferried to the venue in special vehicles.
On the return journey, the supporting staff and baggage could leave only after the third helicopter arrived from Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.
According to sources in Alappuzha, where the President attended a function earlier, his entourage left for Kottayam between 3 p.m. and 3.15 p.m.
The third helicopter was delayed by five to 10 minutes and was the last to take off.