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Rahul Gandhi's flight to Patna experiences technical snag, returns to Delhi

New Delhi: A chartered flight carrying Congress president Rahul Gandhi to Patna was forced to return to Delhi on Friday due to a technical snag, prompting aviation regulator DGCA to launch a probe into the incident.

Gandhi wrote on Twitter that the plane returned after experiencing "engine trouble" and also posted a video of the flight which shows him, the pilot and the co-pilot in the plane.

"Engine trouble on our flight to Patna today! We've been forced to return to Delhi," Gandhi tweeted.

"Today's meetings in Samastipur (Bihar), Balasore (Orissa) & Sangamner (Maharashta) will run late. Apologies for the inconvenience," he said.

Later, Gandhi addressed a rally in Bihar's Samastipur where he shared the stage with RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav for the first time after the general elections were announced.

A senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official said the Hawker 850 XP aircraft VT-KNB returned to Delhi due to a technical snag.

"The DGCA has initiated investigation as per the laid down procedure," he told PTI.

The aircraft landed safely in Delhi at 10.20 am. Ten people, including two crew members, were on board when the incident occurred, the official said.

The aircraft VT-KNB belongs to the Delhi-based company Forum 1 Aviation Private Limited.

According to the company's website, the plane was acquired "brand new in 2006" and it can fly anywhere in India. The Hawker 850 XP typically has a configuration of two seats for pilots and eight for passengers.

Gandhi is on a campaign trail, criss-crossing the length and breadth of the country for the Lok Sabha polls.

This is not the first time Gandhi's plane has experienced trouble mid-air.

On April 26 last year, a plane carrying Gandhi and some others from Delhi to Hubballi airport in Karnataka for campaigning for assembly polls developed a technical problem and tilted heavily on the left side.

The plane dipped steeply with violent shuddering, but soon recovered and landed safely.

The DGCA had come out with its 30-page report on that incident in which it pinned the blame on the pilots for the near-crash of the Congress president's chartered plane.

After the incident, Gandhi had expressed his desire to go on Mansarovar Yatra, which he undertook later that year.

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