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Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019

Defence minister meets families of two IAF pilots killed in Mirage 2000 crash

The minister visited the family of squadron leader Siddhartha Negi in Dehradun and later arrived in Ghaziabad to meet the family of squadron leader Samir Abrol at his residence in the city’s Gandhi Nagar locality.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2019 11:12 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman (2nd from R) and Uttarakhand CM TS Rawat (R) meet family members of late squadron leader Siddhartha Negi in Dehradun on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019.
Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman (2nd from R) and Uttarakhand CM TS Rawat (R) meet family members of late squadron leader Siddhartha Negi in Dehradun on Tuesday, Feb 5, 2019.(PTI)
         

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday visited the families of two Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots, who were killed in the Mirage 2000 crash in Bengaluru on February 1.

The minister visited the family of squadron leader Siddhartha Negi in Dehradun and later arrived in Ghaziabad to meet the family of squadron leader Samir Abrol at his residence in the city’s Gandhi Nagar locality.

Both Samir, 32, and Siddhartha, 31, were on a test flight in their upgraded Mirage 2000 fighter jet when it crashed during the take-off at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) airstrip on February 1.

The two pilots were attached to the aircraft and systems testing establishment. The French origin trainer aircraft, manufactured by Dassault Aviation, was on an acceptance sortie after being upgraded at HAL. The IAF has already ordered a probe into the accident.

“The minister visited our family to offer condolences. There was no conversation beyond this. The air force knows better about the crash and we trust them to do justice to us. The inquiry into the crash will take its own time and we will be patient,” Sushant, Samir’s brother, said.

The minister, during her 30-minute stay in Ghaziabad, also met Garima, Samir’s wife. After the crash, Garima and Sushant had shared some tweets and posts on social media but said that these were not directed towards anyone. After the defence minister left their house on Tuesday, Sushant said they “don’t want to politicise the issue”.

“The tweets are very personal and depict the emotions of the family after such an incident. These were just to be shared among family and friends. These were not directed towards anyone. My brother was very proud of the air force. So why shouldn’t we be proud of my brother and the force?” he said.

Samir’s family had earlier said that off all the aircraft Samir had flown, he loved flying the Mirage 2000 the most. The Mirage was first inducted into IAF in 1984 and the recent crash was the 11th incident involving the Mirage fleet. The IAF is now left with an inventory of 48 Mirage 2000 fighter jets.