Two IAF fighter jets crash in Madhya Pradesh's Morena district, one pilot dead

Officials said the two pilots of the Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft ejected safely while the pilot of the Mirage-2000 has been dead.

Published: 28th January 2023 12:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th January 2023 07:24 AM   |  A+A-

People gather near the wreckage of a crashed aircraft, in Bharatpur distric. (Photo | PTI)

People gather near the wreckage of a crashed aircraft, in Bharatpur distric. (Photo | PTI)

Bhopal/New Delhi: Two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets--a Mirage-2000 and a Sukhoi Su-30--which were on a routine operational flying training mission, crashed in the Morena district of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday morning.

While one of the pilots identified as Wg Cdr Hanumanth Rao Sarathi (flying the Mirage-2000) succumbed to the fatal injuries sustained in the accident, two other pilots (flying the Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft) safely ejected and were later flown by an IAF helicopter for medical treatment in Gwalior.

As per villagers present on the site of the crash, dismembered limbs and other body parts of the dead pilot were scattered in a large area, where the debris of the Mirage-2000 (he was flying) was also strewn all around.

While the two IAF fighter aircrafts, including a Mirage-2000 and a Sukhoi Su-30 crashed in Manpur village of Pahargarh forest area in Morena district of MP’s Gwalior-Chambal region, the major portion of the Sukhoi aircraft was strewn in the neighbouring Pingora area of Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.

According to Morena district collector Ankit Asthana, both the aircrafts crashed in Morena district’s territory, but since the ejection of the pilots happened safely from the Su-30 aircraft at very high altitude, both the pilots from the aircraft landed safely in Morena district, while the aircraft glided into the jungles of Bharatpur district of Rajasthan.

As per the IAF official statement, an inquiry has been ordered to determine the cause of the accident of the two aircrafts, which had taken off on Saturday morning from the IAF’s Maharajpura airbase in neighbouring Gwalior district of MP on routine operational flying training mission.


As per Morena district administration sources, a team of forensic experts of the IAF has arrived at the accident site in Manpur village (90 km from Morena district headquarters) and started on the spot probe.

Shocked over the loss of the IAF pilot in the accident, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Deeply anguished by the loss of brave air warrior, Wg Cdr Hanumanth Rao Sarathi, who suffered fatal injuries during an accident near Gwalior. My deepest condolences to his bereaved family. We stand by his family in this difficult hour.”

As per official sources present at Pahargarh police station of Morena district (around 2 km from the site), the Morena police received phone calls from villagers in Kailaras area at around 10.15 am, about the rear portion of an aircraft catching fire after heavy sound while in air, after which the police in the entire area was alerted about the possibility of the air crash.

A local village sarpanch Shailendra Shakya said, “Flashes of fire were seen in one of the aircrafts’ rear portion, after a heavy sound. While one of the planes which had caught fire in the back portion was seen plunging in the Pahargarh forests, the other aircraft was seen gliding towards the forest area of adjoining Rajasthan. Watching the flashes of fire in the aircraft which was plunging down in Pahargarh forests, many villagers started running in that direction. We also saw two pilots coming down through parachutes. We spotted them on the ground in safe condition 15-20 minutes later.”


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