Bhopal: Two Indian Air Force fighter jets – a Sukhoi Su-30 and a Mirage 2000 – crashed during a training exercise earlier today, officials said on Saturday, resulting in the death of one pilot. While one aircraft crashed in Morena in Madhya Pradesh, the other went down 100 km away in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur.
The Sukhoi had two pilots, while the Mirage had one pilot, defence sources said. Both aircraft are used on the frontlines by the Indian Air Force. The two pilots on the Sukhoi managed to eject and were taken to the hospital in a helicopter.
Two fighter aircraft of IAF were involved in an accident near Gwalior today morning. The aircraft were on routine operational flying training mission.— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) January 28, 2023
One of the three pilots involved, sustained fatal injuries. An inquiry has been ordered to determine the cause of the accident.
Both the fighter jets had taken off from the Gwalior Air Force base which has squadrons of both the Russian-designed Sukhoi and the French Mirage 2000.
Videos from the scene, shot by locals in Morena, showed smouldering debris of the aircraft strewn on the ground.
The Air Force has launched a probe to examine if a mid-air collision led to the crash, defence sources told.
"IAF court of inquiry has been launched to establish whether there was a mid-air collision or not. The Su-30 had two pilots while Mirage 2000 had one pilot during the crash. Initial reports suggest two pilots are safe while an IAF chopper reaching the location of the third pilot soon," sources said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has been briefed by the Indian Air Force chief on the crash of two aircraft, news agency PTI reported.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a tweet, “The news of the crash of Sukhoi-30 and Mirage-2000 aircraft of the Air Force near Kolaras in Morena is very sad. I have instructed the local administration to cooperate with the Air Force in quick rescue and relief work. I pray to God that the pilots of the planes are safe.”