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Pilot killed in mid-air collision of IAF aerobatic team at Bengaluru Aero Show

The aircraft, believed to be BAE Hawk MK 132, were rehearsing for the Aero India show in Bengaluru. Both the pilots ejected but one of them was severely injured and has been rushed to a hospital.

india Updated: Feb 19, 2019 16:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Visuals showed smoke billowing from the site and burning debris were scattered all over the airbase. (HT Photo)

Two aircraft of Indian Air Force’s Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team collided at the Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

The aircraft, believed to be BAE Hawk MK 132, were rehearsing for the Aero India show in Bengaluru. Both the pilots ejected but one of them succumbed to his injuries. “One pilot has succumbed to injuries in the Surya Kiran jet crash; two others safe,” said DGP Fire Services M N Reddi.

The mishap occurred during a sortie as part of the rehearsal for the five-day air show. Police said a civilian was also injured in the mishap.

Also read: Oh my god’: Video shows last 40 seconds of Surya Kiran crash in Bengaluru

“Today morning at around 11.50, two Hawk aircraft of Surya kiran aerobatic team crashed while practising for the forthcoming Aero India Air Show. Three pilots were occupants. Two pilots ejected and have been evacuated to the Command Hospital. Third pilot sustained fatal injuries. Damage to life and property in the vicinity of crash site is being ascertained. A Court of Inquiry will investigate the cause of the accident,” the IAF said in a statement

Visuals showed smoke billowing from the site and burning debris were scattered all over the airbase. Initial reports said choppers and emergency vehicles have been sent to the site. Search and rescue operations are underway and the police have cordoned off the area.

The Surya Kiran team was formed in 1996 with the objective to serve as “ambassadors” of the Indian Air Force and showcase their mettle. After Aero India 2011, the Surya Kirans were grounded because the air force faced shortage of training aircraft. The aerobatics team was back in 2017 for Aero India after a six-year hiatus.

Watch: Moment two aircraft of IAF’s Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team collided

On February 1, two IAF pilots were killed after their Mirage 2000 fighter jet crashed during takeoff at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) airport in Bengaluru.

The 12th edition of Aero India will be held from February 20-24 in Bengaluru. As against 72 aircraft in the previous edition in 2017, only 61 aircraft have registered for flying and static display on the tarmac of the air base this time.

Similarly, the number of global and Indian aerospace firms participating in the expo has slumped to 373 from 549 last time. Of the 373 exhibitors, 200 are from India, 45 from France and 28 from the US. The rest are from countries like Russia, the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany and Italy.

First Published: Feb 19, 2019 12:09 IST