IAF’s Mig-29 fighter crashes, pilot safe


New Delhi : A MiG-29 fighter of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed Tuesday but the pilot managed to bail out safely, an official said.

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The incident occurred around 4 p.m. as the plane was preparing to take off from the Adampur air base in Punjab on a routine training sortie, an IAF spokesperson here said.

"The crash occurred immediately on take off. The pilot ejected safely," he added.

"Since the accident occurred at the airfield, there was no damage to property on the ground. Neither are there any civilian casualties."

A court of inquiry had been ordered.

The IAF has lost three MiG-29s in similar accidents in the past 11 months.

In September 2006, a Mig-29 that had taken off from Adampur crashed while preparing to land at Ambala. The pilot ejected safely.

In June, a twin-seat trainer version crashed into the sea off India's west coast but both pilots bailed out safely.

Tuesday's is the fifth crash of an IAF aircraft this year.

A Jaguar fighter had crashed at the Nal air base in Rajasthan on Jan 18. An indigenously developed Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) had crashed on Feb 2 while rehearsing for the Aero India international air show at Yelahanka near Bangalore. A MiG-21 fighter met a similar fate near Kurseong in West Bengal on March 1.

On April 11, two pilots were killed when a Cheetah helicopter crashed over the Siachen glacier in Jammu and Kashmir.

Soon after assuming office last month, the IAF chief, Air Chief Marshal Fali Major, had said the force had recorded its lowest rate of 0.36 percent accidents in its 75-year history.