A couple of days after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s chartered flight was caught in “mid-air turbulence” while she was returning to Kolkata from Uttar Pradesh, she admitted that the plane averted an impending collision because of the prompt action of the pilot.
Speaking in the Assembly, Banerjee revealed: “Another plane, all of a sudden, came in front of my aircraft. If the situation had continued for 10 more seconds, there would have been a head-on collision. It was due to the efficiency of the pilot that I survived. The plane climbed down 6,000 feet. I suffered injuries on my back and chest. I still have pains.
“The plane didn’t fall into any kind of air-pocket,” the chief minister added.
The incident that happened on Saturday while she was returning from Uttar Pradesh after completing her campaign for Akhilesh Yadav, had triggered controversy following which the state government sought a report from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The chief minister had injuries on her back and chest in the turbulence.
The state government also sought to know from the DGCA if approval was accorded for the route taken by Banerjee’s chartered flight.
On Friday evening, a chartered flight carrying Banerjee from Varanasi to the city faced turbulence, causing the plane to rock violently.
The pilot managed to land it safely at Netaji Subhas Chandra International Airport. However, Banerjee suffered injuries caused by the steep climb-down the flight had to make to cope with the turbulence.
The Chief Minister was on board a Dassault Falcon 2000, which is a 10.3-tonne lightweight plane with a capacity of carrying a maximum of 19 people, including two flight attendants.