La Paz (EFE) – Bolivian President Evo Morales had a scare when his military helicopter experienced mechanical problems and was forced to make an emergency landing, authorities said Tuesday.
The incident took place Monday during the flight between the president’s highland hometown of Orinoca and the city of Villa Tunari in the central province of Cochabamba, according to regional transport secretary Yury Muñoz. He told the media that Morales’ chopper, which was also carrying Vice President Alvaro García Linera, began to experience engine failure – likely due to contaminated fuel – and was forced to land in Santivañez, south of Cochabamba.
Once on the ground, the pilots decided the helicopter was not airworthy, Muñoz said, so Morales continued on to Villa Tunari aboard a small military plane and his vice president traveled overland.
The president joined most of his compatriots in marking Tuesday’s final day of the pre-Lenten Carnival by taking part in a “challa” ceremony, which combines pagan and Christian elements to thank the Andean deity Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) for what has been re-ceived during the year and to request further divine generosity in the 12 months to come.