PRAMESH S JAIN
* Negi hailed from Dehradun in Uttarakhand.
* Abrol was from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.
* Both were test pilots with the IAF’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment.
* Fire Spread upto 1 KM.
* Six Fire Engines,Rescue Helicopters,Ambulances were rushed to crash site.
* Fire Fighters had a tough job dousing the blaze.
The Indian Air Force’s Mirage 2000 has crashed at HAL airport, Bengaluru. In which the two pilots have perished in this unfortunate incident.The aircraft was being flown by two test pilots of the Indian Air Force.Squadron Leader Siddhartha Negi and Squadron Leader Samir Abrol were taking the plane for an acceptance test flight after it had been upgraded by the HAL there.Both pilots were from Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment.
A rescue operation was launched by the authorities.One of the two pilots died after managing to eject from the plane but he fell on the debris itself.The other pilot was rushed to hospital but succumbed to his injuries, senior IAF officer told media persons. A Mirage 2000 aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed at the HAL Airport here Friday killing both the pilots.
Though the pilots made a bid to eject, they were caught in the flames as the plane crashed with a huge explosion, a defence official said.This morning,a Mirage 2000 trainer aircraft on an acceptance sortie after upgrade crashed at the HAL Airport, Bengaluru,a defence public relation officer said in a statement.Both occupants sustained fatal injuries. Further details are awaited. Investigation into the cause of accident is being ordered, he added.
Senior officer said,The body of one the pilots was completely charred while the second pilot was rushed to the Command hospital.Later, the second pilot succumbed to the injuries, the official said.
The pilots were identified as squadron leader Samir Abrol,33,and squadron leader Siddhartha Negi,31,both from Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment.Squadron leader Siddhartha Negi was commissioned into IAF in June 2009. He is from Dehradun.Squadron leader Samir Abrol was commissioned in June 2008 and is from Ghaziabad, UP.Six fire engines with rescue helicopters,Ambulances were rushed to crash site.Fire fighters had a tough job dousing the blaze higher officers from the Hindustan Aeronautical Limited and cops too rushed to the spot.
The pilots, commissioned in the air force a decade ago,were on deputation as test pilots at the IAF’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) from their respective air bases.Though both the pilots had ejected out of a crashing aircraft,it (ejection) would have been a bit late or delayed to escape fatal injuries, a senior IAF official told media persons on the condition of anonymity.
The state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) makes and upgrades aircraft for training and combat operations of the IAF as the country’s sole defence behemoth. It also maintains and operates the military airport in the city.
An eye-witness said the plane went up in flames as it crashed with an explosion and thick smoke billowed from the spot, leaving passersby and residents living around the airport in a shock the smoke reached to 1km huge people gathered at the incident place.Soon firefighters and ground staff at the airport swung into action to douse the flames and tried to bring out the pilots.
The HAL, in a statement, said the incident occurred at 10.30 am during a sortie.Regretting the tragic crash, HAL expressed condolences to the grief-stricken families of the two pilots.The company has initiated an inquiry into the accident in coordination with the IAF, HAL said in a separate statement.
Defence PRO’s of Bengaluru with DCP Whitefield was giving minute to minute update on the crash incident.
The HAL-upgraded fighter was originally built by the French aerospace major Dassualt Aviation.
The HAL-run air traffic control (ATC) alerted the ground staff about the crash and the city fire brigade rushed its fire fighters to douse the flames from the wreckage in a bid to rescue the ejected pilots.
The IAF signed a $2.4-billion deal with Dassult in 2011 to upgrade its fleet of 51 Mirage-2000 fighters and extend their life span as they were bought in the 1980s.
The crash occurred just three weeks before IAF and HAL jointly host the 12th edition of the biennial Aero India air show at its Yellahanka base in the city’s northwest suburb from February 20-24.
The incident has cast a cloud over Aero India 2019, which is due to start on February 20 at Air Force Station Yelahanka. Air safety will be on everyone’s mind when the flying machines hit the skies during the five-day event, which itself has had a couple of blips in the past editions.
As one of the six of its kind the world over, the 46-year-old ASTE is the IAF’s only test centre in the country for field trials of its fighters, transport aircraft and helicopters that are indigenous or imported from global aerospace majors.
The ASTE is also used by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) for evaluating indigenous aircraft, choppers, weapons, sub-systems and other aerospace equipment used in aerial warfare.
Addl CP East,Seemanth Kumar Singh, told media persons, that today morning at around 11am the HAL police Station received a information regarding an accident which has occurred inside the HAL Airport premises.In this accident an Mirage 2000 Air Craft is crashed the details of the crash are still yet to be ascertained. In this crash the 2 Pilots are died as of now we have got information necessary information is still awaited from the area because it is a very protected area and it belongs to Defence authorities all the legal formalities which have to be done are being done and DCP,Whitefied,Abdul Ahad is monitoring the situation he added.
While a detailed investigation may reveal what caused the upgraded multirole jet fighter to crash within a minute after taking off, the location of the burning wreckage in the airport periphery indicated a technical snag would have brought it down before gaining sufficient altitude.
PRAMESH S JAIN
PRAMESH S JAIN