Paradip: It was a narrow escape for residents of seaside villages in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha as wreckage of cruise missile `Nirbhay` fell in a cashew nut forest in the area after it was aborted midway, creating panic among them.
There was no loss of life or property as the wreckage with `Nirbhay` painted on it crashed in the forest along the sea shore near Gadaharishpur and Sarabant villages of Erasama area, a little away from human habitation, Inspector in-charge of Erasama police station Prafulla Badajena said.
As the wreckage crashed on the ground, smoke filled the air and some oily substance was seen on the ground creating panic among the people in nearby villages, he said.
Later, a team from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur arrived at the site and took possession of the wreckage, he said.
"It was scary as the whole area was filled with smoke after the object crashed. Panic gripped the entire area as news about the incident spread," said Keshab Patra, a villager who saw the missile crash.
"Residents of at least two villages had a miraculous escape as it (the missile wreckage) fell inside the cashew jungle on the sea shore," he said.
Another eyewitness Suresh Giri said "We are lucky ... Thank God it did not fall inside the village. A deep pit was created under the impact of the crash."
Many curious villagers gathered near the site to have a glimpse of the wreckage after the smoke stopped emanating from the wreckage.
`Nirbhay`, the country`s first indigenously developed long range cruise missile was aborted midway after it deviated from its intended flight path, defence sources said.
The missile, which failed to hit the intended target in the sea was terminated over the Bay of Bengal after it was airborne for about 25 minutes and crashed, they added.