Pilot dies in Indian army jet mid-air collision


Photo: AFP via The Guardian

Jan 28: One pilot has died after two Indian Air Force fighter jets crashed in a mid-air collision in central India.

The planes were on a routine "operational flying training mission" when the incident happened, the air force said in a statement.

Both aircraft had taken off from the Gwalior air base in Madhya Pradesh, about 50km (30m) east of where they came down.

The air force has ordered an inquiry to determine the cause of the crash.

The crash involved a Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 carrying two pilots, and a French-built Mirage 2000, flown by one pilot.

Local media reports said the wreckage was found in Bharatpur in Rajasthan and Morena in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.

Police officer Dharmender Gaur, at one scene where the wreckage was discovered, told AFP news agency that a pilot had been found injured but alive in the forests of Padargarh.

"We have located the wreckage of one of the planes," the officer said. "The other plane has likely fallen further away from the site and we have sent teams to locate it."

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said local authorities had been instructed to assist with the air force's rescue and relief efforts.

The crash is the latest in a series of aviation accidents involving India's military air force.

In October last year, five soldiers were killed when their helicopter crashed in Arunachal Pradesh state, near the border with China, while in December 2021 the head of India's armed forces, Gen Bipin Rawat, was among more than a dozen killed when the helicopter they were travelling in hit a hillside and burst into flames in Tamil Nadu state.

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