Modi’s chopper flies back after repairs
ECONOMYNEXT – An Indian helicopter that broke down during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka returned home on Tuesday after replacing some vital engine parts and receiving a blessing from the Temple of the Tooth, official sources said.
The Ukranian-built Mi-17 helicopter was grounded at Asgiriya since Friday and was repaired with spare parts flown in from India, sources said, adding that the return journey was not without drama.
On the first attempt after the repair, the transport aircraft in the VVIP squadron could not take off and local officials then asked the Indians to offer a “pooja” and seek the blessings of the Temple of the Tooth.
“They told us that they had already sought blessings from the temple the night before,” an official at Asgiriya said. “Then, the helicopter came to life on the second attempt. After they left, we did not hear from them. That is good news. They have reached their destination safely.”
Despite the breakdown of the Mi-17 aircraft, Modi’s visit went ahead smoothly, and he returned to the Katunayake airport in a different helicopter to board the special Air India Boeing 747 back to New Delhi.
Authorities also removed wasp nests at two locations where Modi’s helicopters landed in Dikoya fearing that the rotors could stir up wasps and trigger an attack.