MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in Rajasthan's Bikaner district on Friday with the pilot ejecting safely, a defence ministry spokesperson said. The aircraft was on a routine mission and crashed after getting airborne from the Nal airbase near Bikaner. The pilot of the aircraft ejected safely, the spokesperson said. He said that a court of inquiry would investigate the cause of the accident. Bikaner Superintendent of Police Pradeep Mohan Sharma said the MiG aircraft crashed in Shobhasar ki Dhani, 12 km from Bikaner city. He said police teams have rushed to the spot to cordon off the area. No loss of life has been reported.
The crash came days after the IAF lost a pilot during a mid-air collision before the launch of Aero India Show in Karnataka’s Bengaluru. Two pilots ejected and have been evacuated to the Command Hospital. Third pilot sustained fatal injuries.
Video clips of the February 19 incident showed the two jets crashing to the ground and bursting into flames near Yelahanka airbase after brushing against each other mid-air. Thick black plumes of smoke were seen billowing from the mishap site moments later, with a man in the video yelling "Oh my God, oh my God." The Hawk jets were performing a manoeuvre when one was flying inverted carrying a pilot and the other below it with two pilots moments before they hit each other and spun out of control, according to police and eye witnesses.
Soon after the mishap, Bengaluru Commissioner of Police T Suneel Kumar said the crash occurred at the ISRO layout and that 'minor damage' has been caused to a house nearby that had no inmates.
The Aero India tragedy happened about three weeks after a Mirage-2000 trainer aircraft of the IAF crashed at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Airport here on February 1, killing both pilots. Jaguar aircraft had crashed on January 28 at Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh and the pilot had ejected safely.