MiG-21 crashes in Assam, pilots bail out safely

June 18th, 2009 - 4:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, June 18 (IANS) A MiG-21 fighter aircraft crashed Thursday soon after it took off from an air base in Assam, but the two pilots managed to bail out safely, officials said.
The aircraft caught fire after it plunged into a pond near a tea garden in Hathiali village in Dibrugarh district, about 520 km east of Assam’s main city of Guwahati, an Indian Air Force (IAF) spokesperson said.

“The aircraft had got airborne from the Chabua air base and was on a routine training-flying mission when the accident took place. The pilots ejected safely,” IAF spokesperson Wing Commander R. Sahu told IANS.

The Chabua air base is about 10 km from the accident site.

“We saw the aircraft plummeting from the sky and plunging straight into the pond with a big splash and then catching fire. The two pilots with the help of parachutes landed about 100 metres away from the pond and suffered minor injuries. Tea garden workers came to their help immediately,” said Dilip Tanti, a tea garden worker, who was among the first to reach the crash site.

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