Lucknow: A helicopter belonging to the Uttar Pradesh government made an unannounced landing at the ground in La Martiniere College in the middle of the junior school sports day event on Wednesday, triggering panic among children, parents and spectators, the school authorities said.
A video of the incident showed the helicopter, with identification VT-UPL, heading towards the school’s Polo Ground where students were showcasing dressage skills on the horseback.
Screens, flags, canopies and marquees installed for the 139th Junior School Sports Day event were uprooted, parent of one of the children said.
“A potential disaster was averted. Swirling dust momentarily blinded around 200 children on the ground,” the parent said.
It was not clear who was travelling in the chopper, which took off shortly after its pilot was confronted by college authorities.
“The pilot said he was not aware of the sports event and that his primary concern was safe landing,” an official said.
La Martiniere principal Carlyle McFarland said the college has extended permission for a portion of the playground to be used by the government.
“But the college was never informed about the landing or take-off,” he said, adding that complaints have been registered with DGCA and the directorate of air safety.
A senior Uttar Pradesh government official declined to comment on the incident.