Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday had a providential escape when his copter crash-landed. But many other leading Indian politicians have not been as lucky, and got killed in air tragedies in the past few decades.
Fadnavis, 46, three officials, a pilot and co-pilot managed to emerge virtually unscathed after their US-made Sikorsky helicopter crash-landed from a height of almost 80 feet, or a ten-storied building, at a helipad in Nilanga, Latur district, on Thursday afternoon.
– Among possibly the earliest Indian politicians to be killed in a plane crash tragedy was the late revolutionary leader, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, on August 18, 1945, in what is modern Taiwan.
– Almost 37 years ago, firebrand Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi, the younger son of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and younger brother of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, was killed when a small aircraft he was piloting crashed at the Safdarjung Airport in New Delhi on June 23, 1980.
– Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia was killed when his Cessna aircraft crashed on September 30, 2001, while he was flying to Kanpur for an election rally.
– Former Lok Sabha Speaker and Telugu Desam Party leader G.M.C. Balayogi was killed in a chopper crash on March 3, 2002 in Andhra Pradesh.
– Senior DMK leader and former Minister of State for Defence N. V.N. Somu was killed in a chopper crash in Tamil Nadu on November 14, 1997.
– Then Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu was killed in a chopper crash on April 30, 2011.
– Then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was killed in a chopper crash on September 2, 2009.
However, there have been others as lucky as Fadnavis and managed to survive aircraft tragedies in the past.
They included former Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who escaped unhurt when his special aircraft crashed in Assam in November 1977.
Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, and former union ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Kumari Selja escaped miraculously from a chopper crash in Gujarat in 2004.
In 2007, then Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his cabinet colleague P.S. Bajwa survived after their chopper got entangled in overhead electrical cables in Gurdaspur.