Hundreds of people in state of Andhra Pradesh either died on shock or committed suicide by hearing the sad news of sudden demise of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy on 3rd September 2009. Reddy’s chopper fatally crashed in a dense forest when he was flying to a small village in Chitoor district of Andhra Pradesh. YSR was confirmed dead, nearly 27 hours after the chopper he was flying in went missing.
The air crash or famous personalities losing their life in air crash is not new for India. S. Kumaramangalam, a Congress leader, died in a plane crash in 1973 near New Delhi.
Sanjay Gandhi, who was the political heir and the younger son of late prime minister Indira Gandhi, was killed when a glider he was flying crashed shortly after taking off from the Safdarjung airport in Delhi in 1980. Had he not been killed he would have probably become the prime minister of India after Indira Gandhi.
Madhav Rao Scindia, a senior Congress leader and a former cabinet minister, was killed in a plane crash on 30th September 2001 when he was traveling to address a public rally in Uttar Pradesh state of India.
Lok Sabha Speaker and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader G.M.C. Balayogilost his life in a chopper crash on 3rd March 2002 in Andhra Pradesh state. Balayogi was also traveling in a Bell 206 helicopter similar to Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy.
Haryana ministers O.P. Jindal, also a noted industrialist, and Surendra Singh were killed when the chopper carrying them went down in Uttar Pradesh on 31st March 2005.
There were lucky ones also who escaped from death during air crash. The most prominent among them was the then prime minister Morarji Desai, who escaped after the jet nose landed in a paddy field in Assam on 4th November 1977.
In 2001, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot escaped after his helicopter fell on a tree in Rajasthan. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel and union ministers Prithviraj Chauhan and Kumari Selja had a miraculous escape in 2004 when the rear portion of their chopper broke on landing at a helipad in Gujarat.
Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has survived one such chopper accident when it hit electrical wires soon after taking off. The cables snapped and the chopper crash-landed from a relatively low height. Singh escaped.
The chief minister of Rajasthan Vasundhara Raje had a narrow escape in 2007 when her plane crash landed after developing a technical snag.
BJP president Rajnath Singh and his vice president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had a miraculous escape in 2008. The chopper landed close to a pile of dry grass that caught fire. The pilot, however, immediately took off again and landed at a safe place.