MiG 21 crashes in Bengal, pilot safe (Lead)

May 23rd, 2008 - 8:40 pm ICT by admin  

Kolkata/New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) In a fifth crash of an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft this year, a MiG-21 fighter caught fire while landing at West Bengal’s Bagdogra airport Friday, but the pilot managed to eject unharmed, an official said. “There was a technical snag in the aircraft and one of the wheels got jammed. So the pilot belly landed. Because it was landing at such a high speed, the aircraft caught fire,” defence ministry spokesperson R.K. Das said in Kolkata.

The Bagdogra airport is a military facility that is open for civilian flights as well. It is located 16 km from Siliguri town in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district.

“The aircraft has been destroyed completely. A court of inquiry has been ordered into the cause of the crash,” an air force official in New Delhi said.

An HPT-32 training aircraft had crashed May 13, killing its woman pilot.

On April 29 a newly acquired Hawk advanced jet trainer crashed in Bidar but the pilot ejected safely.

On Jan 31, a MiG-21 crashed in Hashimara while on Feb 21 another MiG-21 crashed in Bhuj in Gujarat. But the pilots ejected to safety.

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