The chopper carrying BJP star campaigner Manoj Tiwari, a singer and actor serving as Minister of Parliament from northeast Delhi, made an emergency landing at the Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport in Patna, following a communication glitch Thursday morning.
Tiwari and Neelkant Bakshi, a BJP worker from New Delhi, who were passengers of the helicopter, were reported safe.
Tiwari was going to address an election rally at Bettiah in West Champaran district, when the chopper, hired by the BJP, lost VHF (very high frequency) contact with the Patna air traffic control.
“There was total communication failure and we were not traceable for 40 minutes. There were lights flashing around us and our chopper was given priority to land, as the pilot displayed good understanding of the situation and made an emergency landing at the Patna airport,” said Bakshi in a video message, released on social media, from the arrival lounge of the terminal building.
“We took off for Bettiah from Patna airport at 10.10am. After flying for 40 minutes, we thought we were landing at Bettiah, but soon realised that we were hovering over Patna near the airport and the chopper was going up and down. That is when we realised something was wrong. We are safe. We thank our supporters for their good wishers,” he added.
“The chopper had radio communication failure and lost VHF contact with the ATC (air traffic control). It was holding near the airport and was shown the Aldis lamp, which is a large beacon or signal lamp for visual communication, and guided to land at the Patna airport,” said an airport source, requesting anonymity.
Patna airport director BCH Negi did not respond to phone calls or text messages till the filing of this report.
Tiwari is among the 30 star campaigners of the BJP for the second phase of the Bihar assembly elections scheduled on November 3.
The BJP list of star campaigners for Bihar polls also includes prominent leaders like Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Bihar deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi among others.