The Begumpet airport escaped a major disaster by a whisker this afternoon in its premises during the on going third India Aviation 2012 Air show.
Minutes before Chief Minster Kirankumar reddy was to have taken off by a special helicopter from the airport for party campaign in Mahaboobnagar assembly constituency by poll, a fire broke out adjacent to the petrol bunk in the airport.
Airport security staff and fire brigade personnel, who were deployed there on account of the air show as a precautionary measure, immediately swung into action and extinguished the fire within minutes.
People feared the petrol bunk could have attracted the fire if the fire personnel had not acted on time resulting in a major disaster.
Several VIPs including the DGP and his family members were also present there watching the air show.
Airport police later said the fire could have been the result of a cigarette thrown out by an irresponsible smoker on to the grass adjacent to the petrol bunk. The authorities have banned smoking in the airport premises with immediate effect following the incident.
Minutes after the incident, former CM Chandrababu Naidu’s helicopter landed safely at the airport. He returned from Station Ghanapur after winding up his party campaign there. (J)