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Surya Kiran pilot killed in crash

M.B. Girish

The incident occurred during a routine practice session by IAF’s aerobatics team



The mangled remains of the Surya Kiran aircraft at Bellura village near Bidar, Karnataka, on Wednesday. At right, Wing Commander R.S. Dhaliwal, who was killed in the crash.

BIDAR: The pilot of a Surya Kiran of the Indian Air Force was killed when the aircraft crashed on an open field at Bellura village close to the Air Force Station (AFS) here on Wednesday.

Wing Commander R.S. Dhaliwal (37), a native of Punjab, was on a routine practice session along with members of the aerobatics team when the incident occurred.

According to police, the team began the practice at 8 a.m. and the incident occurred at 8.35 a.m.

AFS officials said the “black box” of the aircraft was recovered and an enquiry ordered to find the cause of the crash.

In the impact of the crash, the aircraft’s engine and wings got separated and the pilot’s body strewn across the area. A youth from a village near Bellura said two aircraft were engaged in practice and when they came near a lake, one of them turned upside down and “crashed” moments later.

“There was an explosion after the crash and the pieces of the aircraft went high in the air. The sound of explosion was deafening,” he said.

Another villager said by the time he and other villagers arrived at the spot, the aircraft was in flames.

Air Officer Commanding Ramesh Rai Air Commondore, Air Force Station, Bidar, rushed to the spot after the crash. Bidar Superintendent of Police and Deputy Commissioner Harsh Gupta were also at the spot.

Officials of the AFS, Bidar, cordoned off the site and erected tents to conduct examination of the area.

Corrections and Clarifications

The eighth paragraph of a report "Surya Kiran pilot killed in crash" (January 22, 2009) said that Air Officer Commanding Ramesh Rai Air Commondore, Air Force Station, Bidar, rushed to the spot after the crash. It should have been "Air Commodore Ramesh Rai, Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Bidar .."

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