An IAF MiG-27 fighter jet on a routine training sortie crashed in a tea garden near New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal on Friday, but the pilot managed to eject safely.
This is the ninth IAF Aircraft crash since January this year. "The aircraft was on a routine training sortie from the Hashimara airbase and crashed at around 1310 hours, nearly 15 kilometres from its take off base near New Jalpaiguri," IAF officials said.
The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Gautam, managed to bailout safely before the aircraft crashed, they said. The IAF has ordered a Court of Inquiry to investigate the causes behind the crash, they said. This accident also marks the second Russian MiG-27 crash this year.
The earlier mishap took place on May 15 at Jodhpour when the pilot had bailed out safely. The IAF also lost three MiG-21s this year with the first one recorded on May 27 at Jodhpur, the second on June 18 in Chabua in Assam and third on September ten at Baliana in Punjab. The other crash this year was that of SU-30MKI, the first ever Sukhoi crash of the IAF, on April 30 at Jaisalmer in Rajasthan when one of its test pilots Wing Commander P S Nara was killed.