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MiG-21 crashes near Srinagar airport, 1 killed
December 26, 2002 17:37 IST
A MiG-21 aircraft of the Indian Air Force on Thursday crashed near the local airbase in Srinagar, killing one.
The aircraft crashed at 1425 IST as it was coming in to land at the Srinagar airport after an "operational sortie", but the pilot, Flying Officer B K Singh, bailed out.
Singh, who broke his left arm, was taken to hospital and was said to be out of danger.
The aircraft crashed on the house of Ghulam Ahmed Ganai in Lalgam village of Budgam district, about 4km from the airport. While Ganai was killed, his son was injured and their house, which caught fire, was completely destroyed, air force sources said.
IAF spokesman Squadron Leader R K Dhingra said in Delhi that the possibility of the aircraft being hit by a missile or ground fire was ruled out.
His comments came in the backdrop of security forces recovering Pakistani surface-to-air missile 'Anza' from terrorist hideouts in the border district of Kupwara recently.
Dhingra said, "A court of inquiry has been ordered into the accident to see whether the mishap was caused by a bird-hit or technical or human error."
Senior police and security officials reached the spot and a cordon was laid around the village, the sources said.
The MiG-21, which crashed, was of the type-75 variant. As many as 17 of these aircraft have crashed this year, with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence repeatedly asking the government to phase them out. The aircraft entered service in the IAF in late sixties.
The government has ruled out phasing out of these warplanes saying that massive upgradation of the MiGs was underway.
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