German Chancellor escapes chopper crash

Last Updated: Monday, March 21, 2011 - 12:22

Berlin: German Chancellor Angela Merkel narrowly escaped a helicopter crash while travelling to attend an election rally, a news report has said.

The chancellor travelled in a VIP helicopter of the federal police to Oldenburg in the state of Baaden Wuerttemberg to attend an election campaign rally of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party on Wednesday evening.

After dropping her in Oldenburg, the helicopter left for Oberschliessheim, near Munich with its three-man crew on board and just a few minutes into the flight and at an altitude of about 1,600 metres, both rotors of the Superpuma
332 chopper broke down.

It fell from the sky like a stone and the pilots succeeded in restarting the engines and stabilising the machine only a few hundred metres above the ground, Bild newspaper reported in its Sunday edition.

It was forced to make an emergency landing in Augusburg.

Chancellor Merkel had flown by the helicopter earlier on Wednesday for several hours to take part in two other CDU campaign meetings in the state, Bild said.

She was informed about the near-crash of her helicopter after she completed her campaign assignment in Oldenburg and from there she took a car for the next lap of her journey.

German authorities are not suspecting any attempts of sabotage in the incident.

Nevertheless, they are investigating how both rotors of the powerful 21-seat helicopter broke down simultaneously. It was a brand new helicopter taken into the service of the federal police only in December, last year, Bild said.

PTI



First Published: Monday, March 21, 2011 - 12:22

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