Two aircraft of IAF’s aerobatic team Surya Kiran crashed after grazing each other mid-air, killing a pilot and injuring two who ejected to safety during a rehearsal for the Aero India show.
Video clips of the incident showed the two jets crashing to the ground and bursting into flames near Yelahanka airbase after brushing against each other mid-air, a day ahead of the five day event. Thick black plumes of smoke were seen billowing from the site moments later.
The Hawk jets were performing a manoeuvre when one was flying inverted carrying a pilot and the other below it with two pilots, moments before they hit each other and spun out of control, according to police and eyewitnesses. Both aircraft then came crashing down in a bushy area in a residential layout, but none of the local population was injured.
The incident occurred at around 11.50 hours during the rehearsal for the air show, the defence PRO office said in a statement. One of the three crew members of the aircraft, Wg Cdr VT Shelke and Sqn Ldr TJ Singh ejected. However Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi sustained fatal injuries, it said. A court of inquiry will investigate the cause of the accident, the statement said.
Sitharaman is slated to inaugurate the five-day biennial event organised by the ministry of defence at the Yalahanka air base, north of Bengaluru.
Soon after the mishap, Bengaluru Commissioner of Police T Suneel Kumar said a house nearby that had no occupants suffered minor damage.
The tragedy comes about three weeks after a Mirage-2000 trainer aircraft of the IAF crashed at HAL Airport, killing both pilots