IAF's MiG-21 trainer aircraft crashes in Rajasthan's Barmer, both pilots killed
People familiar with the matter said defence minister Rajnath Singh spoke to the IAF chief and enquired about the crash. He has been apprised of the matter by the IAF chief.
An Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-21 trainer aircraft crashed in Rajasthan's Barmer district on Thursday evening in which both pilots died, IAF said in a statement. A twin-seater MiG-21 trainer aircraft of the IAF was airborne for a training sortie from Utarlai air base in Rajasthan this evening. Around 9:10 pm, the aircraft met with an accident near Barmer. Both pilots sustained fatal injuries," the IAF said.
“IAF deeply regrets the loss of lives and stands firmly with the bereaved families,” it said, adding that a court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.
People familiar with the matter said defence minister Rajnath Singh spoke to IAF chief VR Chaudhari and enquired about the crash. He has been apprised of the matter by the IAF chief.
Later, Singh took to Twitter to express condolences. “Deeply anguished by the loss of two Air Warriors due to an accident of IAF’s Mig-21 trainer aircraft near Barmer in Rajasthan. Their service to the nation will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of sadness,” he tweeted.
The debris of the aircraft was found scattered in the village in Barmer district.
"It was an IAF plane that crashed near Bhimda village in Baytoo," Barmer district collector Lok Bandu said. He said he was on the way to the site of the incident.
The IAF got its first single-engine MiG-21 in 1963, and it progressively inducted 874 variants of the Soviet-origin supersonic fighters to bolster its combat potential. But more than 400 MiG-21s have been involved in accidents that have claimed the lives of around 200 pilots during the last six decades.
Experts have said that more MiG-21s have crashed than any other fighter because they formed the bulk of the fighter aircraft in the IAF’s inventory for a long time.
IAF had to keep its MiG-21 fleet flying longer than it would have liked because of delay in the induction of new fighters.