Tragedy struck the Indian Air Force (IAF) today, as two of its jets collided during a routine training mission, resulting in the death of one of the three pilots involved. The incident occurred in the central Madhya Pradesh state, near the city of Gwalior, and an investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the accident, reports BBC.
"The aircraft were on routine operational flying training mission," the IAF stated in an official release, adding that the two planes had taken off from their base and were engaged in a routine training sortie when the accident occurred.
The statement also confirmed that one of the three pilots involved had suffered fatal injuries, and the other two were rescued and evacuated to a nearby medical facility for treatment.
Rescue and Recovery
The first plane crashed in the forests of Pahadgarh, around 300 kilometres south of New Delhi, and local police officials were immediately deployed to the crash site.
"Two pilots were found near the crash site, who were later evacuated in an IAF chopper for treatment," Morena district police superintendent Ashutosh Bagri told the news agency, AFP. "Both of them are out of danger," he added.
Another police officer, Dharmender Gaur, at the crash site, told the news agency that a pilot had been found injured but alive in the forests of Padargarh. "We have located the wreckage of one of the planes," the officer said.
"The other plane has likely fallen further away from the site and we have sent teams to locate it."
The Accident in Perspective
The Indian Air Force has not yet specified the type of aircraft involved in the accident, but the media has reported that it was a Sukhoi-30 and Mirage 2000 aircraft.
This is the latest in a string of military aviation accidents to have occurred in India in recent months. In October 2021, five army soldiers were killed when their helicopter crashed in Arunachal Pradesh state, near the country's militarised and disputed border with China.
A few weeks later, another chopper crash occurred in the same state, killing its pilot. And in December 2021, India's defence chief, General Bipin Rawat, was among 13 people killed when his Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter crashed while transporting him to an air force base.