Indian Air Force pilot killed in MiG-21 fighter jet crash

Li Jiayao

NEW DELHI, July 18 (Xinhua) -- A pilot of Indian Air Force (IAF) was killed Wednesday after a MiG-21 fighter jet he was flying crashed in northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, police said.

The MiG-21 crashed in a field in village Patta Jatian of Kangra district, about 214 km northwest of Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh.

"Initially there were no reports of the pilot but now his body has been found," a police official in Kangra said. "The MiG-21 crashed here at around 1:30 p.m. (local time). Parts of the aircraft were scattered, besides one part was in flames, when people and police teams reached the spot."

The aircraft was on a routine sortie. The reasons of the crash were not known immediately. Officials said IAF authorities have ordered a court of inquiry into the crash to establish the cause.

Following the crash hundreds of villagers assembled at the spot. Reports said two teams of IAF reached the spot to take the samples and collect the debris.

According to officials, the fighter jet took off from neighbouring Punjab's Pathankot, where IAF has a base.

Reports said IAF has inducted over 900 MiG-21 in its fleet over the past 40 years and many of these planes were lost in crashes.

Of late India is phasing out its MiG-21 squadron, following incidents of its frequent crashes in the past.


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