Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis escaped a potential accident on Friday when his helicopter took off suddenly as he was about to board it in Raigad district, a top official said. According to Raigad’s acting Collector P.D. Malikner, the incident happened around 1.50 pm when Fadnavis came to the JSW Steel Company’s helipad in Alibaug and was preparing to board the waiting helicopter.

“As the CM came near the door, the chopper suddenly took off, tilted sideways and hovered around 2-3 feet in the air… its rotating wings came very close to his head,” Malikner told IANS from the site.

However, an alert security personnel acted swiftly, lunging forward to save the CM from any injury, Malikner added. The helicopter remained in that position for a few minutes even as Fadnavis was pulled back a safe 20 feet or so from it, before it touched the helipad again. Later, after a technician checked the rotors to detect any malfunctions and it was cleared for take-off a short while later.

Fadnavis boarded it to return to Mumbai. He had gone to attend the birthday celebrations of Alibaug legislator Jayant Patil and inaugurate a theatre hall. As news of the incident spread like wildfire on social media networks, a CMO official said that the CM’s helicopter did not meet with any accident and urged people not to believe rumours.