By: Shubham Ghosh
The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday (28) remained witness to a tragedy as two of its jets — a Sukhoi Su-30 and a Mirage 2000 — crashed during a training exercise earlier in the day, official sources said.
One pilot was killed.
While one jet crashed in Morena in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, the other was believed to have gone down in Bharatpur, located almost 100 kilometres away, in neighbouring Rajasthan. Some other reports said that a third plane had crashed in Rajasthan though the details were still awaited.
Two fighter aircraft of IAF were involved in an accident near Gwalior today morning. The aircraft were on routine operational flying training mission.
One of the three pilots involved, sustained fatal injuries. An inquiry has been ordered to determine the cause of the accident.
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) January 28, 2023
The ill-fated jets had three pilots in all — the Sukhoi with two and Mirage with one, defence sources said. The Sukhoi pilots managed to eject on time and were airlifted to hospital for treatment, the one flying the Mirage was less fortunate.
Both the aircraft are used by the IAF on the frontlines.
Rescue and search operation was launched.
An inquiry was ordered to determine the cause of the accident, the IAF said in a tweet.
It was said that both the fighter planes had taken off from the Gwalior Air Force base in Madhya Pradesh which has squadrons of both the jets — the Russian-designed Sukhoi and French-designed Mirage.
Local people shot videos of debris of the aircraft strewn on the ground.
Defence sources told Indian news channel NDTV that the IAF was probing to see of there was a mid-air collision.
“IAF court of inquiry has been launched to establish whether there was a mid-air collision or not. The Su-30 had two pilots while Mirage 2000 had one pilot during the crash. Initial reports suggest two pilots are safe while an IAF chopper reaching the location of the third pilot soon,” sources said.
Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh was briefed by the IAF chief about the crashes, Press Trust of India reported.
Shivraj Singh Chouhan, chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, said in a tweet, “The news of the crash of Sukhoi-30 and Mirage-2000 aircraft of the Air Force near Kolaras in Morena is very sad. I have instructed the local administration to cooperate with the Air Force in quick rescue and relief work. I pray to God that the pilots of the planes are safe.”