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Three killed, 7 injured in crash at Hyderabad airshow

Source: PTI
Last updated on: March 03, 2010 15:52 IST
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A naval aerobatic plane, flying in a formation during an airshow, crashed into a three-storeyed residential building in Hyderabad on Wednesday, killing two pilots and injuring seven persons on the ground.

The Kiran MK-II plane, which was part of the 'Sagar Pawan' aerobatic team participating in a display at the India Aviation show, crashed around noon, causing a loud bang in the New Bowenpally area, about 4 km from the Old Begumpet Airport.

Navy chief Nirmal Verma, who was in Bhopal, said the pilots had not ejected.

"So the possibility is either timewise there was a problem or they (the pilots) were making all efforts to ensure that damage is minimised to any civil area. They are no more," he said.

"The inputs that I have got is that about seven people are injured," he said, adding, "I have to wait for more information. It is premature for me to say what could have caused the crash at this stage."

The pilots were Commander S K Maurya and Lt. Commander Rahul Nair, a navy spokesman said in New Delhi.

Nair belongs to Delhi.

Hyderabad Police Commissioner A K Khan said the plane crashed into the residential building, which had a cellphone tower on top. A car parked outside the building was smashed as one of the plane's wings fell on it.

The injured have been sent to a hospital, Khan said. Black smoke billowed from the building after the crash and firemen were seen at work. Fuel could also be seen dripping from the mangled remains of the aircraft. The third floor of the building had suffered major damage.

The police, which reached the crash site, kept at bay a large crowd of onlookers which had gathered there and put a cordon around the area.

A senior police officer, supervising the rescue operations, said the bodies of the pilots had been charred and one of those wounded on the ground had suffered burn injuries.

He said that one parachute found in the area had apparently not opened properly.

Formed in 2003, the Sagar Pawan team had last performed at a ceremony on February 19 in Goa to mark the induction of Russian-made MiG 29K combat aircraft of the navy.

It is one of the only two naval aerobatic teams in the world--the other being the 'Blue Angels' of the US Navy. It uses Kiran MK-II trainer aircraft based at the Indian Naval Air Station, Hansa in Goa.

This is the second mishap in three days involving aerobatic display teams of the Indian armed forces.

On February 27, advanced light helicopter Dhruv of IAF's 'Sarang' display team crash-landed in Jaisalmer due to loss of power while rehearsing for the Vayu Shakti air show, which had taken place in Pokhran the next day. No one was, however, injured.

An aircract of IAF's 'Surya Kiran' aerial display team, which also flies the Kiran MK-II planes, had met with an accident on January 21, last year, killing the pilot.

Another Surya Kiran aircraft had crashed on March 18, 2006 near its home base in Bidar during a training sortie, killing pilots Wing Commander Dheeraj Bhatia and Squadron Leader Shailender Singh.

In 2010, the IAF has lost two fighter aircraft --a MiG-27 and a MiG-21. Last year, the IAF had recorded 11 air mishaps, of which five involved MiG-21 aircraft.

Image: A television grab of the aircraft crash on Wednesday morning

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