Congress seeks probe into snags on Rahul Gandhi's flight to Hubli

NetIndian News Network

Bengaluru, April 27, 2018

The Congress on Thursday wrote to the Director General of Police of Karnataka saying that the aircraft in which its president Rahul Gandhi flew to Hubli in the state had suffered a mid-air technical snag and called for an objective and thorough investigation into the matter and appropriate action.
"It is also requested that the aircraft be grounded at Hubli with immediate effect and not be allowed to make another flight till the investigation of the matter is complete," the complaint, signed by Mr. Kaushal Vidyarthee, an aide of Mr. Gandhi, and addressed to Ms. Neelmani N. Raju, Director General of Police, Karnataka, said.
Mr. Gandhi began a two-day tour of Karnataka yesterday as part of the party's campaign for the May 12 elections to the state legislative assembly.
Mr. Vidyarthee said he had travelled from New Delhi to Hubli in the special flight (VT-AVH), along with four others, including Mr. Gandhi. It took off from Delhi at around 9.20 am and was scheduled to reach Hubli at around 11.45 am.
"However, during the course of the flight, following unexplained technical failures occured:
-- At around 10.45 am, the aircraft suddenly tilted heavily on the left side and the altitude dipped steeply, combined with violent shuddering of the aircraft body. It is to be stated that the weather outside was sunny, normal and not windy as per the observation of the passengers and as per the forecast for the day.
-- A clanking noise was clearly audible from one side of the plane throughout the shuddering of the aircraft body.
-- It was also learnt that the autopilot of the aircraft was not functioning.
-- An attempt was made to land the aircraft at Hubli three times and it finally landed on the third attempt.
The complaint said the aircraft landed at Hubli around 11.25 am "while continously shaking and making unusual audible sounds".
According to it, the whole flight experience left the passengers with "a lot of anxiety and distress, and positively fearing for their lives. The crew was also apparently petrified and admitted that the flight was particularly frightening and uncommon."
The letter said that it was apparent from the "suspicious and faulty performance" of the aircraft that the incidents of shuddering and altitude-dipping were not natural or weather-related, but were due to some technical snags.
"Serious questions related to intentional tampering with the aircraft cannot also be brushed aside and are required to be addressed and investigated," it said.
The complaint said the multiple unexplained technical snags during the flight, coupled with the failure of the auto-pilot system, raised serious issues of aviation safety and possible and intentional tampering with aircraft which endangered the lives of its occupants.
"A thorough examination of the structural and mechanical elements of the aircraft, surrounding circumstances of the flight and the persons attached with the maintenance of the aircraft is required in order to assess the incident," it said.
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