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Pilot killed as MiG crashes in Bangalore

Staff Reporter

Preliminary evidence suggests a bird-hit


  • Flight Data Recorder has been delivered to the court of inquiry team
  • The carcass of a kite-like bird was found on the windshield



    MIG CRASH IN BANGALORE: The wreckage of a MiG 21 aircraft which crashed at the Bangalore Airport on Wednesday. One of the pilots was killed and the other injured. A bird-hit is suspected to be the cause of the accident. — Photo: G. R. N. Somashekar

    BANGALORE: An Indian Air Force MiG-21 aircraft crashed a few seconds after take-off at Bangalore's HAL airport on Wednesday afternoon, killing one of its crew, Sqn. Ldr. K.R. Murthy, a trainee test pilot. Sqn. Ldr. K.D. Bhat, flight test engineer, who ejected to safety, was rushed to the Air Force Command Hospital where he is recovering, an IAF spokesman said.

    Preliminary evidence suggests that a bird-hit might have caused the accident. But the exact cause will only be known after a court of inquiry, headed by Air Cmdre P.V. Patel, is completed, Wg. Cdr. V. Raghunath said. The externally damaged Flight Data Recorder of the aircraft, which was recovered from the spot, has been delivered to the court of inquiry team.

    The aircraft's debris was strewn on the left shoulder of Runway 2709, forcing the suspension of all civilian and military flight landings and take-offs for over two hours at the airport.

    IAF sources said the two-seater trainer aircraft belonged to the Aircraft Systems and Testing Establishment (ASTE).

    Taking off on a routine training sortie around 12.45 p.m., the pilot of the Type-69 trainer aircraft experienced a sudden loss of thrust. This was preceded by "the sound of something striking the aircraft," the spokesman said. Sqn. Ldr. Murthy immediately initiated the ejection procedure. The aircraft's fuel tank caught fire, trapping him in the fireball and detaching him from the parachute. Eyewitnesses at the airport said they saw the MiG-21 go up in flames with a loud noise before disintegrating into two parts. The carcass of a kite-like bird was found on the windshield.

    Within minutes, fire extinguishers from the airport were at the accident spot dousing the flames. For the 111 passengers aboard a Delhi-bound Air Sahara aircraft, it was a providential escape as their flight had taken off barely 10 minutes before from the same runway. A duty manager of the airline said it would have been a major disaster if the crash had been closer to the airport terminal and parking bays.

    A Jet Airways aircraft and a SpiceJet flight with nearly a hundred people on board were ready for takeoff after all the passengers had checked in.

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