A helicopter carrying Bolivia’s President Evo Morales made an emergency landing Monday due to a mechanical problem, the military said, raising suspicions among his supporters after opponents vowed to oust him.
No one was hurt, the air force said, but the incident fuelled tensions in the country where protesters have been rallying against the leftist president for two weeks following his disputed re-election.
The mechanical glitch happened as the helicopter was taking off from a village in the Andes where Morales had been inaugurating a new road, it said. Video of the incident circulated on social media.
“Brothers, today, after opening the road in Colquiri, we had an incident with the helicopter that will be properly investigated,” Morales tweeted later after resuming work at government headquarters.
The air force said it was investigating the causes of the fault.
The EC-145 helicopter “had a mechanical fault in the tail rotor during take-off, which prompted an emergency landing,” the Bolivian Air Force said in a statement.
Morales has accused his opponents of plotting a coup against him.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a staunch ally of Morales, tweeted his “deep solidarity and support for our Indian chief of the south, who has emerged unscathed from an air crash.
“The immortal spirit of our ancestors and liberators protect you. A hug, Brother President!”