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Public figures lost in their prime

Last updated on: September 3, 2009 

Public figures lost in their prime

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is no more.

Reddy's Bell 430 chopper went missing on Wednesday morning over the jungles of Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh and could only be located on Thursday morning following a night-long search operation by different units of security personnel including the army's commandos, Indian Air Force's Sukhoi-30, and 5,000 CRPF personnel.  

Reddy's chopper wreckage was discovered atop a hill about 40 nautical miles from Kurnoool district. Along with YSR, four others -- Dr P Subramanium, the special secretary to the Chief Minister; ASC Wesley, Chief Security Officer and two pilots Group Captain SK Bhatia and Captain MS Reddy -- died in the crash.

Reddy is not the first prominent public figure to be killed in an accident.

Rediff.com goes back in time and lists some public figures who met with a tragic end. Click on NEXT to read further...

 


Image: A collage showing some of the public figures who were killed in accidents

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Madhavrao Scindia (1945-2001)

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Madhavrao Scindia, a senior Congress leader and a former cabinet minister, was killed in a plane crash on September 30, 2001.

He was travelling to Kanpur to address a public rally. Six people also lost their lives when the private plane carrying him went down near Mainpuri in Uttar Pradesh.

The chartered plane, a 10-seater Cessna C-90 bearing the identifier VTE--F and owned by the Jindal Group, took off from Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi at 1249 hours.

The plane crashed around 85 km from Agra.


Image: Madhavrao Scindia

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O P Jindal (1930-2005) & Surender Singh

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Haryana Agriculture Minister and Bansi Lal's son Surender Singh and noted industrialist and Haryana Power Minister O P Jindal were killed on March 31, 2005 in a chopper crash in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district.

Pilot T S Chauhan died on the way to hospital.

Two persons -- Ved Goyal, a relative of Jindal, and head constable Vinod Kumar -- who were also on board the chopper owned by the Rs 10,000-crore Jindal conglomerate, were injured in the crash.

The helicopter, which had taken off from Chandigarh at 1132 hrs had reported over Sarsawa ATC near Saharanpur at 1217 hrs. It lost contact with the ATC when it was 15 metre out of Sarsawa.

Goyal later described the sequence of events, "At around 1230 hrs, the pilot told us that the engine of the helicopter had failed. Jindal and Singh asked him to try and land the helicopter safely, but within seconds the aircraft went out of control and began losing height and crashed."

"Everything appeared normal. The Sarsawa airport was visible and Jindalsaab was showing Surendersaab the airstrip and things below. The pilot even radioed the ATC at Sarsawa and got the clearance. Suddenly something happened and the helicopter dipped and crashed in the fields."


Image: Industrialist O P Jindal

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GMC Balayogi (1951-2002)

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Telugu Desam Party leader and then Lok Sabha Speaker GMC Balayogi died in a chopper crash March 3, 2002 in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.

The private helicopter in which Balayogi was travelling from Bhimavaram in West Godavari district crashed in a fishpond near Kaikalur in Krishna district.

The Deccan Aviation helicopter, carrying Balayogi, his gunman and an assistant developed a technical snag after it took off from Bhimavaram at 7:45 am. It hit a coconut tree before hurtling into a fishpond near Kuvvadalanka village.

His additional Private Secretary K S Raju and the pilot of the chopper also died in the accident.

 


Image: GMC Balayogi

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Soundarya (1976-2004)

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Popular South Indian actress and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Soundarya was among four persons killed in a plane crash at Jakkur near Bangalore on April 17, 2004.

Soundarya was on her way to Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh to campaign for her party when the four-seater aircraft crashed. The actress' brother Amaranath, who was travelling with her, also died in the crash.

The aircraft, owned by Agni Aviation, crashed near the agricultural university campus on the fringes of the Jakkur airfield, charring the bodies of the victims, including the pilot, beyond recognition.

Soundarya acted in several Telugu, Kannada, Tamil and Malayalam films. She had won the national award in 2003 for the Kannada film, Dweepa.


Image: South Indian actress Soundarya

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Rajesh Pilot (1945-2000)

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Senior Congress politician Rajesh Pilot was killed in a road accident near Bhandana in Dausa district of Rajasthan on June 11, 2000.

Pilot's vehicle, a Maruti Gypsy, collided head-on with a Rajasthan Roadways bus. Pilot was at the wheel.

A member of the Congress Working Committee, Pilot succumbed to his injuries at the Sawai Mansingh Hospital.

Pilot's personal security officer, Hari Singh, was killed on the spot, while three other occupants of the jeep were injured.

Pilot was en route to Jaipur to catch the evening flight to Delhi.


Image: Congress leader Rajesh Pilot

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Sanjay Gandhi (1946-1980)

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Sanjay Gandhi, the son of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was killed in a plane crash on June 23, 1980.

Sanjay was at the controls of the aircraft, which caught fire shortly after took-off from the New Delhi Flying Club and crashed into a block of municipal apartments in south Delhi.

His instructor, Subhash Saxena, was also killed in the crash.

Witnesses said the pilot of the US-built two-seater appeared to lose control and the aircraft 'wobbled and fell'.

Police initially identified the aircraft as a glider but later said it was a two-seater built by Pitts Co of Wyoming, US


Image: Sanjay Gandhi

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Mohan Kumaramangalam

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Mohan Kumaramangalam, minister of steel in the Indira Gandhi government, was killed in a plane crash in New Delhi in 1973.

Kumaramangalam drifted away from the Communist Party of India after the party split. His quest for a new political identity coincided with Indira Gandhi's rediscovery of socialism in the late-1960s.

Kumaramangalam became one of the principal advisers to the prime minister in her populist phase and assumed charge as Union minister for steel in 1971.


Image: A portrait of Mohan Kumaramangalam

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Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha (1909-1966)

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Noted nuclear scientist Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha was among the 117 passengers killed in plane crash on January 24, 1966.

The Air India Mumbai-Paris flight AI 101, in which he was travelling, crashed on Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps on the border of France and Italy.

Dr Bhabha was on his way to attend an International Atomic Energy Agency meeting in Vienna.

Bhabha was largely believed to be responsible for the introduction of the space programme through the setting up of the Indian national committee for space research under the chairmanship of Vikram Sarabhai.


Image: Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha

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