A vehicle that was part of Indian President Pranab Mukherjee's convoy met with an accident today. Mukherjee was unhurt.
The President was on his way to the Bagdogra airport, 58 km away from Darjeeling, to catch a flight to the Indian capital, New Delhi, when one of his escort vehicles skidded off the highway into a 30-feet gorge in Sonada, about 17 km from Darjeeling.
Mukherjee was on a three-day visit to Darjeeling, a hill station in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal.
The President’s official Twitter handle announced that he was safe just minutes after the accident took place.
“Car in President's carcade from Darjeeling to Bagdogra goes off road, minor injuries to security personnel; #PresidentMukherjee safe,” read the Tweet.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on the President to ask about his well being after the accident.
According to residents of the region, it was raining and visibility was low due to which the escort vehicle fell into the gorge.
Five security personnel remained stuck until police personnel reached the spot to rescue them. All were rescued and rushed to the Kurseong hospital for treatment. Later, they were shifted to Siliguri hospital for better treatment.
“All five injured have been rescued and rushed to Kurseong hospital. They have been given first aid and it appears that no one has any serious injury. All are conscious and talking. Their names are Deep Shankar Rudra IPS, AP Singh, Pijus of SSU, S K Biswas of Darjeeling, Goutam Sen, driver of the vehicle. The President's team has decided to take A P Singh along with them to Delhi and his further tests will be done there. Other four injured are being moved to Siliguri district hospital for further treatment,” said Anurag Srivastav, district magistrate of Darjeeling district, where the accident took place.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s convoy was following the President’s convoy when the accident took place. Banerjee immediately stepped in to monitor the rescue operation.