Panaji: A photo-op turned into a major embarrassment for Panaji mayor, landing him into murky waters literally, when a weeding machine he had climbed on along with other officials during a demonstration in a creek for media persons turned turtle due to overloading.
However, nobody was injured in the incident which happened on Sunday morning when the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) Mayor Surendra Furtado took it upon himself to explain to media persons the use of a newly-introduced weeding machine to clean St Inez Creek, a water body running through the capital city.
The mayor along with five officials and a journalist climbed atop the machine, which can only carry two persons, as it ventured into the water.
The mayor waved to the media persons and other present on the banks as the machine moved.
Suddenly as it reached the bank and the jaws of its crane grabbed some seaweeds and wastes, the machine tilted to one side with all those on board precariously holding onto whatever they could so as not to fall into the water.
However, within seconds the mayor and others fell into the visibly dirty water as the machine overturned.
"Shortly after the mayor along with the officials ventured into the water, the vessel turned turtle throwing everyone in the murky water," an eyewitness said.
The mayor managed to come out of the water and was subsequently helped by officials to climb to safety.
"It was a minor incident. There is nothing to worry, I was safely back on the vessel. I am not hurt. The incident happened just at the bank of the creek," he said.
However, Congress state legislator Jennifer Monserrate said she had cautioned the mayor not to climb the machine but he did not pay heed to it.
"I had specifically told the mayor not to go on it. The machine is not for joy ride. It is for work. I don't know why he did not listen to me," she said.
The machine is being used to cut the weeds from the creek as a part of cleanliness drive undertaken by the CCP for a week now.