Pune: A Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft of
the Indian Air Force (IAF) today crashed near a village in an
open stretch of land while on a routine mission but the two
pilots flying it ejected safely.
The plane, which had taken off from IAF`s Lohegaon base
near here at 1245 hours, crashed at 1310 hours close to
village Wagholi on Pune-Ahmednagar road on an open land of the
forest department, Air Force officials said. There was no
casualties on the ground.
The pilots -- Wing Commander Suhail and Flight Lieutenant
Nautiyal -- managed to eject safely after the plane apparently
developed a technical snag and lost contact with the base, Air
Officer Commanding (AOC) V R Choudhary, Lohegaon air base,
told reporters here.
"Both the pilots have been evacuated and taken to the
base for medical attention," IAF spokesperson Wing Commander
Gerard Galway said in New Delhi.
Choudhary said a court of inquiry had been instituted to
ascertain the cause of the crash and efforts were on to
retrieve the black box of the plane.
The aircraft caught fire after the crash and fire tenders
were rushed to help douse the blaze even as police, district
officials and IAF personnel rushed to the spot, Pune collector
Vikas Deshmukh said.
This is the third crash of the Russian-origin Su-30
fighter planes since they were inducted into the IAF in 1997.
Today`s crash is the eighth mishap involving IAF fighter
aircraft this year. Seven MiG series aircraft had crashed
earlier this year.
Before the SU-30 accident, a MiG-21 Bison had crashed in
Sirsa in Haryana on December 2. During last three years, the
IAF has lost 30 fighter aircraft and 10 helicopters in various
26 defence personnel including 13 pilots have lost their
lives in these crashes along with six civilians on the ground.