The India Air Force (IAF) on Friday lost its newly-bought C-130J special operations plane, when it crashed about 115 km West of Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh-Rajasthan border in which five crew members lost their lives, including its top notch pilots.
The C-130J crash came as a rude shock for the IAF and aviation enthusiasts alike, as the plane built by the US Lockheed Martin is considered one of the most-stable and safe cargo planes, having four Rolls Royce AE2100D3 engines. The ill-fated aircraft had taken off from Agra in Uttar Pradesh on a routine “tactical” flying training sortie, along with another C-130J. In such tactical flying sortie, the two planes fly one behind the other at a safe distance and carry out training manoeuvres.
While one of the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft’s crashed, the other returned to Agra air base after completing its mission safely.
A probe was immediately ordered into the accident. The two aircraft were part of the IAF’s 77 ‘Veiled Vipers’ Squadron that is based at Hindon in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
“One C-130J aircraft of the IAF crashed 72 miles West of Gwalior airbase on Friday,” an IAF spokesperson said in New Delhi.
“The aircraft was airborne from Agra at 10 am for a routine flying training mission. A court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the cause of the accident,” the spokesperson said.
The deceased were identified as Wing Commander Prashant Joshi -- the Flight Commander and captain of the ill-fated C-130J -- his co-pilot Wing Commander Raji Nair, trainee pilot Squadron Leader Kaushik Mishra, navigator Squadron Leader Ashish Yadav and systems operator Warrant Officer Krishna Pal Singh.