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IAF plane crashes near Bikaner; pilot safe
January 04, 2005 14:53 IST
A MIG 21 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force crashed near Bikaner in Rajasthan on Tuesday, an IAF spokesperson said in Delhi.
The pilot, Sq leader S Kaila, ejected safely. There was no casualty on the ground either, as the plane crashed in an uninhabited place near the base, the spokesperson said.
The plane crashed in a farm in Inda village, 20 km from Bikaner, soon after taking off on a routine sortie from the Nal air base.
A court of enquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the crash, the 14th involving an IAF aircraft in the last 12 months.
The MIG 21 aircraft was of Type 75, which is on the verge of being phased out. It, along with MIG 21 BIS version, has been the most prone to accidents.
According to figures tabled in Parliament, 63 MIG 21 aircraft have crashed in the last 10 years, with 16 crashes taking place in 2000. IAF is in the process of upgrading 125 MIG 21 fighters with Russian and Israeli assistance.
The first two squadrons of the upgraded MIG 21, christened BISONS, have already been inducted into the IAF.