Bangalore, July 27 (PTI): Liquor baron and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Mallya and film director Sanjay Khan today survived a helicopter crash with minor injuries.
The helicopter carrying Mallya, Khan and four others crashed from a height of about 100 feet while landing at a helipad in Bagalkote, 450 km from here.
Mallya was hurt in the left leg but an X-ray showed no internal injury and Khan suffered bruises, a spokesman of the Janata Party, headed by Mallya, said.
The pilot, co-pilot and Mallya’s campaign manager Tushita Patel were also in the helicopter. NDTV cameraman Akmal Jami suffered a fracture in his arm.
Bagalkote district superintendent of police B.A. Padmanayana said the helicopter was completely damaged. The wind velocity at the time was very high, he added.
“God is great. I am thankful to God,” Mallya said.
He blamed the pilot for the mishap and said the helicopter was flying at “an unusually very high speed”. “We saw the helipad at Bagalkote and thought the helicopter would slow on its approach.... However, suddenly it took a steep right turn after which we spun and fell to the ground,” he said, adding that chopper broke into three pieces and “we had a providential escape”. He said it was for the directorate general of civil aviation to find out the cause of the mishap.
Sanjay Khan said: “We were lucky that the helicopter did not explode after crashing.” He said five minutes before landing there was a gust of wind and the pilot lost control. He became panicky and the nose of the chopper turned 90 degrees. It somersaulted three to four times, fell on the ground and broke into pieces.