Security glitch: Mamata's chopper loses way near B'desh-Nepal border
Kolkata: Major security lapses were detected when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's chopper reached almost 50 minutes behind schedule at the rally ground in Chopra on Wednesday.
According to sources, On Wednesday afternoon, Banerjee's chopper took off from Bagdogra Airport at Siliguri to go to Chopra. The distance between Chopra and Bagdogra is about 15 minutes. But after almost 20 minutes went by, Banerjee and her co-passengers sensed that something was not right.
In the meantime, the pilot of the chopper informed that he was not receiving any signal from the landing point. He had initially thought of returning to Bagdogra Airport, but later decided to land somewhere else.
Sources informed that during the whole imbroglio, the pilot was worried that he had accidentally entered the Bangladesh airspace, which is close to Chopra. Nepal airspace is very close to the area as well.
In the midst of the confusion, the chopper kept on flying for almost 50 minutes. Later, some of the passengers found mobile network and was able to detect the location. Later, the chopper landed safely with Banerjee and the others reaching almost 55 late from the scheduled landing time.
The process of flying and landing of choppers is much different from an airplane. An airplane is guided by the Air Traffic Control, whereas a chopper follows the Visual Flying Rules which means it will fly according to visibility. Also, to land a chopper, the pilot needs a proper signal from the landing point.
In this case, the pilot specifically alleged that he did not see any signal such as smoke signal or light signal (used at night) from the landing point.
Subsequently, questions arose on whether the persons on duty at the landing point were aware of the chopper taking off from Bagdogra and if they were aware of it, why no smoke signal was given to the chopper pilot.