Rahul Gandhi tweeted this morning that his special flight to Bihar's Patna was forced to return to Delhi because of engine trouble and also posted a video. The Congress president said the snag on his plane meant his election rallies in Bihar, Odisha and Maharashtra would be delayed. After his tweet, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has started an investigation.
"Engine trouble on our flight to Patna today! We've been forced to return to Delhi. Today's meetings in Samastipur (Bihar), Balasore (Orissa) & Sangamner (Maharashta) will run late. Apologies for the inconvenience," he tweeted.
A video posted with the tweet showed the pilots maneuvering the small plane and Rahul Gandhi and other leaders sitting in the cabin. Ten people, including two crew members, were on the plane. The flight landed in Delhi around 10.20 am.
Engine trouble on our flight to Patna today! We've been forced to return to Delhi. Today's meetings in Samastipur (Bihar), Balasore (Orissa) & Sangamner (Maharashta) will run late. Apologies for the inconvenience. pic.twitter.com/jfLLjYAgcO— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 26, 2019
The Press Trust of India quoted a senior DGCA official as saying that the plane, a 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 said.
A year ago, Rahul Gandhi had a similar scare when his chartered flight from Delhi to Karnataka developed a technical snag which, his party men later alleged was "sabotage".
He was campaigning for the Karnataka election at the time. On April 26, soon after take-off from Delhi for the Hubballi airport in Karnataka, the small plane he was flying in tilted, lost altitude and shook for 40 minutes before making an emergency landing.
After the incident, Rahul Gandhi pledged to go for the Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage, which he did later that year.