KOCHI: Two officers of the Indian Navy died when a power glider they were flying crashed here on Sunday morning. The Kochi-headquartered Southern Naval Command has ordered a probe into the incident.
The officers — Lieutenant Rajiv Jha, 39, and Petty Officer (Electrical Air) Sunil Kumar, 29 — were on a routine training sortie when the naval power glider developed a glitch and crashed near the Thoppumpady bridge in the vicinity of Kochi Naval Base around 7.15am. Lt Rajiv Jha is a native of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, and Sunil Kumar is from Bhoj in Bihar.
The glider took off from INS Garuda, the Naval Air Station of Southern Naval Command here, at 7am. People who were out for a morning walk saw the glider crashing and informed the Harbour police. A Navy team rushed to the spot and shifted the two officers to INS Sanjeevani, the Navy hospital.
“The officers were critically injured and were shifted to INS Sanjeevini in ambulances. But they were declared brought dead,” said Navy Spokesperson Sridhar Warrier. “A Board of Inquiry has been ordered by the Southern Naval Command into the incident,” an official statement from the defence wing said. The wreckage was salvaged and taken to the naval base.
An eyewitness told TNIE that Sunil Kumar was taken to the Navy Hospital in Cochin Port’s ambulance while Rajiv was taken in a Navy ambulance. “Both of them were not moving while being taken to the hospital,” the eyewitness said.
Meanwhile, an officer with Harbour police said the glider had some defects, which might have led to the crash. “We found the mangled remains of the glider when we reached the spot. It’s up to the Navy to investigate and find out what went wrong with the glider. As far as we are concerned, a case of unnatural death has been registered,” the officer said. He said the the bodies will be handed over on Monday after the postmortem examination.