BARIPADA/BHUBANESWAR: A trainer aircraft of Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed on Odisha- Jharkhand border during a routine training exercise on Tuesday. The IAF Hawk trainer jet that had taken off from Kalaikunda air base in West Bengal crashed near Topa ghat of Subarnarekha river bordering Mayurbhanj district at about 12.45 pm. Hundreds of locals thronged the river banks as the news of the aircraft crash spread in the locality. Villagers rescued the injured pilot Arvind Joshi and informed the police. According to eyewitnesses, the plane pierced nearly 10 feet into the sand bed after crash and its debris lay scattered at the site.
The trainer pilot suffered injuries as his head hit the rocky surface while lading with the help of parachute. Mayurbhanj SP Awinash Kumar said the advanced trainer jet crashed on the river bed in bordering Mahuldangiri village during a routine sortie. Though both trainee pilot and trainer ejected, the latter sustained minor head injuries. Police teams from the district and Jharkhand rushed him to Baharagora hospital in Jharkhand. Later, a rescue team from Kalaikunda arrived at the spot in a helicopter to take stock of the situation. The trainee pilot was sent back in the helicopter.
Though the cause of the mishap is yet to be known, reports from Rairangpur said villagers had spotted fire on the aircraft while it crossed the area towards Jharkhand. Meanwhile, the IAF has ordered a court of inquiry into the incident which took place nearly 110 km from the Air Force base. An official statement released by the IAF confirmed that the Hawk aircraft that met with an accident was airborne from Kalaikunda on a routine training sortie. It, however, stated that the trainee pilot ejected safely. “A CoI will investigate it to ascertain the reason behind the accident,” the release stated.
On June 3, 2015, a Hawk trainer aircraft had crashed in Bisoi area in Mayurbhanj district in a similar manner injuring two pilots. Five months ago, a Kiran trainer aircraft of the IAF crashed shortly after taking off from the Hakimpet Air Force Station in Hyderabad. A women pilot on board the jet had, however, ejected safely.