Airport was 'wonderful' for Rajiv, cliffhanger for Moily

Union Law Minister had a miraculous escape three decades ago

Airport was 'wonderful' for Rajiv, cliffhanger for Moily

Recalling the August 19, 1981 air crash in which then minister M Veerappa Moily escaped unhurt, Fernandes said that perhaps Avros stopped operating on the route since then.

“When I narrated the incident later to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (who was also a pilot) during his visit and that the table top airport was dangerous, Rajiv Gandhi replied in negative.”

“However, after he saw the airport, Rajiv Gandhi exclaimed that it was the best airport as the deep valley on either side of the table top airport would help the pilot to take off again easily, in case of an emergency,” Oscar said in a lighter vein.
Union Minister for Law M Veerappa Moily who was also sharing the dais recalled the incident.

On the fateful day on August 19, 1981, the pilot of the Bangalore-Mangalore Avro aircraft landed in spite of not getting clearance from the ATC (in view of the poor visibility). In fact, when the aircraft touched the ground, only 25 per cent of the runway was left. The result: The plane wrested upon a cliff on the edge of the hill.

Three huge laterite stones prevented the plane from plunging into 300-feet-deep valley. Though the engine caught fire, the fire brigade doused the fire and all the passengers escaped with minor injuries.

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