President Pranab Mukherjee had a close shave when an escort vehicle fell into a gorge while driving through a bend on the way down from Darjeeling towards Bagdogra airport on Friday. Fortunately, the occupants sustained minor injuries and are safe.
The vehicle was following the President’s car and it was followed by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s car.
Soon after the mishap, President Mukherjee tweeted: “Car in President’s carcade from Darjeeling to Bagdogra goes off road, minor injuries to security personnel; #PresidentMukherjee safe.”
Car in President’s carcade from Darjeeling to Bagdogra goes off road, minor injuries to security personnel; #PresidentMukherjee safe
— President of India (@RashtrapatiBhvn) July 15, 2016
“Dada, you don’t worry. All of them are alive. We have dropped ropes… One person has been rescued,” Mamata Banerjee reportedly told the President over the telephone.
Mamata told reporters: “After Pranabda’s car moved on, the third car slipped and rolled down the incline. There were five men in the vehicle, all have been rescued. We immediately informed Pranabda and stopped all the vehicles to start rescue efforts.”
According to reports, an officer of the Intelligence Bureau, a special superintendent of CID, two sub-inspectors of West Bengal police and a state police constable were injured in the accident.
The road conditions in the hills deteriorate considerably during monsoons. Just a few days ago, a manager of the Cinchona Plantation in Mungpoo and his driver were killed in an accident near Setikhola in the Sevoke area after boulders smashed their car.
It would do well if the West Bengal government learns a lesson from the incident and take concrete measures to fix this cyclic danger.
President Pranab Mukherjee was in Darjeeling to attend the birth anniversary of Nepali literary figure Shri Bhanubhakta Acharya. He also addressed the annual general meeting of Darjeeling Tea Association on Thursday.