IAF fighter missing in Kashmir


Jammu/New Delhi : An Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21 fighter is missing in Jammu and Kashmir and is suspected to have crashed, an official said.

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"The aircraft, a Type-75 variant, had taken off from the Udhampur air base here on a routine training flight at around 10.20 a.m. It lost contact with the air traffic control soon after that," an IAF spokesman in New Delhi said.

An official in Jammu said the aircraft is suspected to have crashed in the Basantgarh area of the Pir Panjal range.

Police parties have been sent to the area to look for the plane's wreckage, the official added.

Five IAF aircraft have crashed 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.

On May 8, a MiG-29 fighter crashed soon after taking off from Adampur in Punjab but the pilot managed to bail out safely.

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 per 10,000 flying hours in its 75-year history.