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IAF jet crashes in K'taka; two pilots killed

The mishap occurred when tail of one aircraft hit another during a sortie.

india Updated: Mar 18, 2006 21:01 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India

A jet trainer Kiran Mk II aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed into a field on the outskirts of Bidar in north Karnataka on Saturday killing two pilots of the famed "Surya Kiran" aerobatics team on the spot, IAF sources said.

The pilots were identified as Squadron Leader Shailendra Singh and Wing Commander D Bhatia, the sources in Bangalore said.

Bhatia was an experienced pilot while Singh had joined the team two months ago, they said.

The plane crashed into a toor dal field in Naubad on the outskirts of Bidar in the northern tip of Karnataka after it was damaged when the tail of one aircraft hit another during a morning routine sortie, police said.

An inquiry had been ordered into the accident, an IAF spokesman said.

IAF's "Surya Kiran", rated as one of the best aerobatics formation teams in the world, along with the "Red Arrows" of the British Royal Air Force and Canada's "Snow Birds" is based at the IAF station in Bidar.

The squadron primarily comprises indigenously manufactured Kiran Mk II aircraft. During breathtaking displays and manoeuvres, which the team has held in 500 shows within the country, besides abroad, the daredevil IAF men operate between 200 and 600 km per hour and fly within a height band of 30 to 1,500 metres.

First Published: Mar 18, 2006 11:42 IST