Haldia: The red carpet laid out for senior Union Minister Nitin Gadkari in West Bengal today got entangled with the rotor blades of his helicopter when the politician landed in Haldia.
As the chopper was landing, its rotors created a draft or gust of strong wind. The tarpaulin and a strip of red carpet laid out at the helipad were blown into the air and at least one strip of tarpaulin caught in the rotors.
Mr Gadkari was safe and he tweeted, "All passengers on board helicopter to Haldia are safe. Really appreciate the concerns and well wishes expressed".
A statement from the Kolkata Port Trust said, "The carpet at Helipad ground was laid as part of Guard of Honour as per usual drill followed in such occasion. The carpet got dislodged from the ground due to sudden wind. There was no fault either on part of the arrangement or on the part of pilot in following the DGCA approved route".
The minister later drove away, to inaugurate a biodiesel dispensing unit at the port complex in Haldia.
According to sources, the helicopter did not suffer any damage and was declared fit to fly. However, Mr Gadkari returned by road due to bad weather in Kolkata.
Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman took to twitter to extend her wishes to Mr Gadkari, "Happy to know that you and your team are safe. Providential grace!" she wrote.
Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan too followed suit, "Happy to hear @Nitin_Gadkari ji that you and your fellow passengers are safe. Grateful to God, wish you long and healthy life" he tweeted.
Helicopter pilots who have seen the footage of the incident say it could have been a dangerous situation. The tarpaulin, they say, could have damaged the chopper blades and led to a hard landing at the least.
According to standard operating procedure, no loose items should be present near a helipad.