New Delhi: Two pilots were killed on Thursday night when an Indian Air Force MiG-21 jet crashed during a training sortie in Rajasthan’s Barmer.
Visuals from the accident site showed the destruction on fire, dissipated nearby.
“A twin seater Mig-21 coach airplane of the IAF was airborne for a preparation fight from Utarlai air base in Rajasthan tonight. Around 9:10 pm, the airplane met with an accident close to Barmer. Both pilots sustained fatal injuries,” the Air Force said in a statement.
“IAF deeply regrets the loss of lives and stands firmly with the bereaved families,” the statement added.
A court of request has been requested to examine the reason for the mishap, it said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressed Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari following the crash.
“Deeply anguished by the deficiency of two Air Warriors because of a mishap of IAF’s Mig-21 coach airplane close to Barmer in Rajasthan,” Mr Singh said on Twitter.
“Their support of the country won’t ever be neglected. My considerations are with the deprived families in this hour of trouble,” he said.
The MiG-21 is a Soviet-period single-motor multirole contender/ground assault airplane that once framed the foundation of the IAF armada.
The aircraft has a poor safety record and is expected to be withdrawn from service within the next decade by which time it will be replaced with more modern types.