CHANDIGARH: A MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force today crashed at Patta Jatian village of Kangra district in Himachal Pradesh killing the pilot who had featured in a promotional video sharing his love and passion for the aircraft.
The aircraft had taken off from the Pathankot air base in Punjab on a route sortie around 12:20 pm and crashed around 1:20 pm in Patta Jattian village in Kangra. Confirming the crash, Superintendent of police of Kangra Santosh Patial said, "No loss of civilian life or damage to property has been reported in the incident as the plane crashed into the agricultural fields. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a tweet wrote, Pilot n Leader Meet Kumar died in the crash. At 1220 hrs today, a MiG21 of @IAF_MCC, airborne from Pathankot Airfield for a test, crashed near Pathankot. Our heartfelt condolences to the family of brave pilot Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar, who we lost in the fateful crash," she stated.
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— ANI (@ANI) July 18, 2018
He had last year featured in a promotional video sharing his love and passion for the aircraft. Five months back, the Indian Air Force lost Wg Cdr Dushyant Vats, who had also featured in a similar promotional video.
The villagers were the first to report the crash to the local authorities. As they heard a loud sound of crash and rushed out of their houses. Then they saw that a plane had crashed and saw smoke arising out of the fields near their village. The remains of the plane had spread over 2 square kilometres radius.
A large number of villagers had gathered at the spot and claimed that the plane exploded in the air before crashing into the fields. Then two IAF helicopters landed at the crash site with Air Force personnel who are conducting preliminary investigations. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to establish the cause of the accident. The pilot was initially thought to be missing.
Around two months after another MiG 21 crashed in Anantnag district in Jammu and Kashmir on May 27 in which also the pilot was killed. The ageing MiG 21 aircrafts have been dubbed flying coffins after a spurt in crashes. They were inducted into the IAF in 1963. Meanwhile on June 5, an IAF Jaguar fighter jet had crashed in Kutch in Gujarat soon after takeoff, killing the pilot.