Mumbai, Feb 9: A major accident was averted in Mumbai airport early on Monday, Feb 9 morning after an aircraft and a helicopter were cleared for take off and landing at the same time. Reports suggest that the India Air Force helicopter that had a narrow escape with IC 866 aircraft was part of Indian President Pratibha Patil's convoy.
Indian Airlines flight IC 866 aircraft was given a clearance by the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) for a take off at the same time as that of the helicopter. The flight was Goa-Mumbai-Delhi bound, carrying around 148 passengers. Sources said that the pilot of the flight saw the helicopter and immediately aborted the take off.
The plane had run about 1-1.5 kilometers on the runway when an Army helicopter suddenly landed 50 metres away. Planes run for about 2-3 kilometers before taking off at very high speed. The sudden application of emergency brakes resulted in a tyre of the plane getting damaged.
The Indian Airlines officials confirmed the incident and said that all the 148 passengers and crew members on board the IA flight are safe. Later a statement was also issued by the Rashtrapati Bhawan saying, "We took off in the Presidential chopper at 9:30 am from Mumbai. We did not see anything amiss. We landed in Gondia at the right time. The President is fine and going about her work."
"We have no idea whether anything was amiss in the schedule of the chopper or whether there was a near disaster. It certainly didn't seem like it," the statement added.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the chopper had no clearance to land in the Mumbai airport.
OneIndia News (With inputs from Agencies)