8:00 AM

Presidential escort chopper in emergency landing

Two helicopters had left for Arugam Bay from Colombo, transporting President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his entourage to the ceremonial opening of the reconstructed Arugam Bay bridge scheduled for yesterday afternoon.

Nanayakkara said the aircraft which developed mechanical problems was the helicopter which transported the Presidential aides.Police said that the Bell 412 had been hit by gunfire from LTTE when it was returning over the Kanjikudichchhciaru jungles and made an emergency landing in Pottuvil.

According to eyewitnesses the gunfire had hit the under carriage of the aircraft and fuel was leaking from the tank."Prior to President’s arrival in Pottuvil, the Tigers had fired seven rounds of mortars at the Sengamuwa STF camp but no damage was caused," a senior Police office said.

A team of investigators and engineers had left Colombo for Pottuvil at the tme this edition went to press.