Two pilots killed in IAF fighter crash in Kashmir


Jammu/New Delhi : Two pilots died Tuesday after an Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21 fighter crashed in Jammu and Kashmir, an official said.

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The bodies of the pilots and wreckage of the crashed plane were found in high mountainous reaches of Kathua district, southeast of Jammu, in the evening.

"The aircraft, a Type-75 variant, had taken off from the Udhampur air base 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.

After IAF authorities sounded the state police and the army for help, police sighted the wreckage of the plane Kapal Kund in Kathua.

Police officials said IAF commandoes, Garudas, were heli-dropped at the site and they recovered the bodies.

"An inquiry is being conducted to ascertain the reason of the crash," a defence official said in Jammu.

This was the sixth IAF aircraft to have crashed this year.

A Jaguar fighter had crashed at the Nal air base in Rajasthan Jan 18. An indigenously developed Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) had crashed 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 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, an 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.