IAF jet crashes, pilot killed (Second lead)

January 21st, 2009 - 5:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Jan 21 (IANS) A jet aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Surya Kiran aerobatic display team crashed at Bidar in north Karnataka Wednesday, killing its pilot Wing Commander R.S. Dhaliwal, a defence spokesman said. “The aircraft crashed at 8.35 a.m. shortly after it took off from the Bidar Air Force Station (about 750km from here), on a regular training sortie,” IAF spokesman Wing Commander Mahesh Upasani told IANS on phone from New Delhi.

“The pilot died instantaneously when the jet crashed. It caught fire soon after it got airborne from the air base,” Upasani added.

The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry to find out the exact cause of the mishap.

The sub-sonic Kiran-Mk II aircraft in the Surya Kiran fleet are also used by the air force to enable its rookie pilots transit from turboprop trainers to jets.

“There are no reports of any damage to civilian life or property,” Upasani added.

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