Aircraft damaged, PM changes plane for Copenhagen

The mishap occurred at the VVIP area of Delhi airport around 12.30 PM  when the trolley hit the cargo door of Air India's 747-400 damaging it while the loading operations were in progress.

The security and other officials held an emergency meeting at the airport and decided to use an alternate aircraft for the Prime Minister's travel which resulted in a three-hour delay. The plane took off at 5.45 PM.

An embarrassed Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel rushed to the airport and ordered a high-level inquiry. "Let the inquiry report come. Then we will know whether there was anything mala fide in this," he said.Patel said both the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Air India would conduct an inquiry.

The Minister, who saw off the Prime Minister, said preliminary inquiry has found that the hydraulic lift carrying food items hit the cargo door of the Air India Boeing 747-400.

He said the driver of the loader vehicle has been suspended. He has good experience of having done work relating to several VVIP aircraft, Patel said, adding "After all we are all human".

An official spokesperson of the ministry said a "minor damage" was caused by the loader vehicle to the cargo door of the aircraft.As a measure of abundant precaution, the standby aircraft has been deployed for the Prime Minister's journey, the spokesperson said.This is the second incident involving a VIP aircraft in the country in just over a week.

President Pratibha Patil had a narrow escape on December 9 when the rotor blades of an IAF Mi-17 helicopter in which she was on board hit a shed after landing at the Biju Patnaik Airport in Bhubaneswar.
The accident occurred when the helicopter bringing Patil back from Puri was taxiing to the parking bay after landing.
The chopper's three rotor blades got twisted after it hit an asbestos shed whose roof was ripped off.

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