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Two pilots died after a Mirage 2000 trainer fighter aircraft of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) crashed at the HAL Airport in Bengaluru on 1 February.
Both pilots in the aircraft had ejected, but one of them died after landing on the wreckage of the aircraft, according to the report. The other pilot succumbed to his injuries in hospital, where he was admitted in a critical condition.
According to the HAL PRO, the aircraft crashed into a blockade near the runway. The crash took place when the pilots were on an test flight after the aircraft was upgraded.
At least two choppers were pressed into service to vet the crash site and six fire tenders were deployed to douse the flames at the crash site.
The test pilots have been identified as Squadron leader Siddharth Negi and Squadron leader Samir Abrol. They were from the Aircraft & Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) of the Air Force.
Negi, who hailed from Dehradun, was commissioned in the IAF in June 2009. Abrol from Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad was commissioned in June 2008.
According to the HAL statement, there is still some confusion about whether or not the aircraft was airborne when it crashed. “It happened soon after take-off. They crashed into a blockade near the runway. They ejected but their parachutes caught fire and they landed in the debris,” the HAL PRO said.
Photos from the scene of the crash
(Photo: The Quint)
The Ministry of Defence’s PRO put out an official statement, saying that an investigation had been ordered into the cause of the accident.
“Today morning, a Mirage 2000 trainer aircraft on an acceptance sortie after upgrade by HAL crashed at HAL airport, Bengaluru. Both occupants sustained fatal injuries. Further details are awaited. Investigation into the cause of accident is being ordered,” the statement read.
The black box of the aircraft was recovered nearly two hours after the crash.
Monalisha, an employee of Landmark which has its office opposite the crash site, said that she saw the explosion and pilots ejecting from the aircraft. “It happened around 10.30 am when I was on my way to work. I heard the explosion and saw the crash. I saw two pilots eject with their parachutes on, but didn’t see them land. I routinely see practices and tests taking place at HAL around this time,” she said.
The single-engine Mirage fighter jets were used during the Kargil war, reported NDTV. India had 41 Mirage 2000 aircraft before the crash on Friday.
Officials and police at the site of the crash.
(Photo: The Quint)
IAF Bids Adieu to Squadron Leader Negi
BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar took to Twitter to express his condolences as Squadron Leader Siddharth Negi was given a sendoff by the Indian Air Force.
While Squadron Leader Negi was given a burial at a burial ground in the city, Squadron Leader Abrol’s remains were taken back to Ghaziabad from where he hails.
In June 2018, a pilot was killed after an Indian Air Force Jaguar fighter jet crashed soon after taking off from the Jamnagar airbase in Gujarat, reported PTI. The plane was on a routine training mission.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI, and NDTV )