Chief minister Arjun Munda’s wife Meera being wheeled into Apollo hospital in Ranchi on Wednesday. ( Hardeep Singh)
Chief minister Arjun Munda, wife Meera and four others cheated death and escaped with not-so-critical injuries on Wednesday afternoon, when the Agusta AW 109 carrying them crash-landed at Birsa Munda Airport.
Apollo hospital superintendent P.D. Sinha said Munda had suffered a hairline fracture in the lumbar region of his spine because the helicopter fell from a height of 15ft.
The lumbar region or lower back comprises five vertebrae. These are referred to as L and appended with an identifying number, which indicates the level of the spine. Munda’s fracture has been noticed in the L2 vertebrae.
Besides, he has also fractured his right ankle and received bruises on his left hand, below the elbow. “At present, the chief minister’s vital parameters are normal and he is out of danger,” Sinha said.
Dr Patrick P. Minz of the department of neuroscience at Apollo said Munda needed to rest for at least three weeks.
The hospital’s medical board, which held a meeting in the evening, decided to seek expert advice from AIIMS on the chief minister’s health. A special messenger air-dashed to New Delhi with Munda’s CT scan and MRI reports.
State chief secretary S.K. Choudhary and other senior government officials were present at the meeting.
Doctors said Meera Munda, the chief minister’s better half, had received injuries in her pelvic region, but they were not serious. “All her reports (MRI, CT scan, X-ray) are normal. We are awaiting for some more reports to come tomorrow,” Dr Minz said.
He said both the pilots — V.K. Singh and G.P.S. Kaushik — had suffered fractures in the waist, but it was too early to say whether they would be able to fly again or not.
“It depends on how and when they recover. At this point of time, they need complete bed rest for a minimum of six weeks and under clinical observation. Later, after assessing the progress of their recovery, we will be able to say whether their career as pilots will be affected,” said Minz.
Munda’s security officer Manoj Singh too has received back injuries. “But, we don’t think he has had fractures. Trauma and internal injuries are causing pain, which we hope will subside in three weeks,” he said.
BJP MLA Barkuanr Gagrai was the only one to escape unhurt. But, he was understandably in a state of shock. “I have acute pain in the waist and back,” he told a TV channel. “At one point of time, we were almost certain that the copter, which had developed a snag, will crash. We survived only because of the presence of mind of our pilots and by god’s grace,” he added.