A MiG-21 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force has crashed in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh today, killing the pilot.
The aircraft had taken off from the Pathankot air base on a routing sortie at 12:20 pm. It crashed around 1:20 pm in Patta Jattian village in Jawali, around 70 km from Dharamshala.
“No loss of civilian life or damage to property has been reported in the incident as the plane crashed into the agricultural fields,” Kangra’s Superintendent of police of Kangra Santosh Patial said.
Squadron Leader Meet Kumar died in the accident. Don’t know how many lives more it would take to retire the flying coffins.
Airforce personnel reached the site of the crash in two choppers and investigation is on. According to the initial reports, pieces of flesh had been found at the site. Visuals from the scene of the crash showed part of the aircraft burning, which was later doused.
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IAF MiG 21 fighter jet crashes in in Himachal’s Kangra,Pilot Killed
The pilot was initially thought to be missing. Two IAF helicopters landed at the crash site soon after the accident for search operations and on-the-spot investigation.
The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry into the crash.
Patta Jatian residents were first to report the crash to authorities. “We heard a deafening sound and rushed out of our houses and saw smoke arising out of agricultural fields near our village,” said villager Hem Singh.
Other eyewitnesses claimed that the plane exploded in the air before crashing into the fields.
The debris of the aircraft were spread over an area of two square kilometers.
MiG-21 Indian aircraft coming from Punjab's Pathankot crashes in Patta Jattiyan in Jawali subdivision of Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district. Pilot is missing. Rescue team on the way. More details awaited pic.twitter.com/093Psw4HEj
— ANI (@ANI) July 18, 2018
Wednesday’s accident comes less than two months after another MiG 21 crashed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag district on May 27. The crash too killed the pilot.
The MiG-21 BIS is one of the oldest variants of the fighter in service.
The ageing MiG 21 aircraft, once the workhorse of IAF were later dubbed flying coffins after a spurt in crashes. The aircraft was inducted into the IAF in 1963.