An eyewitness said the plane crashed into a paddy field 3km from Mirhama-Zaybal village in Bijbehara. “I saw the pilot ejecting before the plane hit the ground. However, he hit a high tension wire and died. The plane turned into a fireball after hitting the ground,” the eyewitness told HT.
A team of senior IAF officials have rushed to the spot.
Expressing grief, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “Not entirely disconnected from today's crash, the new govt needs to sort out the defence procurement issue for Navy, Air Force & Army ASAP.”
In Delhi, union defence minister Arun Jaitley said, “This is a matter of grave concern. My heart goes out to the pilot who lost his life. I also offer my condolences to the bereaved family.” He said more details would be made available soon.