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Aero India 2019: Two 'Surya Kiran' Hawk aircraft of 'Suryakiran' aerobatic team crash mid air during rehearsal both pilots seriously injured

Aero  India 2019: Two 'Surya Kiran' Hawk aircraft of 'Suryakiran' aerobatic  team crash mid air during rehearsal both pilots seriously injured

Bengaluru, Feb 19 (UNI) Two Hawk Aircraft of 'Suryakiran' Aerobatic Display team crashed mid air while on a practice sortie at Yelahanka Air Force Station at around 1150 hrs a day ahead of Aero India 2019 exposition while pilots of both the Aircraft have ejected themselves but sustained grievous injuries and shifted to military Command Hospital.

An IAF statement said, 'Today morning at around 1150 hrs, two Hawk aircraft of Suryakiran aerobatic team of IAF crashed while practicing for the forthcoming Aero India Air Show. Three pilots were occupants. Two pilots ejected and have been evacuated to the Command Hospital. Third pilot sustained fatal injuries. Damage to life and property in the vicinity of crash site is being ascertained. A Court of Inquiry will investigate the cause of the accident'.

There were conflicting reports as in a twitter message Director General of Police M N Reddy said one person belonging to IAF was suspected to have died. However, Bengaluru Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar said the two pilots who were injured were shifted to Command Hospital and another person was reported missing.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman who has already arrived in the city for Aero India event said she was aware of the incident but did not elaborate. When her reaction was sought during a function she attended to launch indigenously developed Stereotatic Frame used for neurosurgery, she said 'Yes I am aware of it (the incident of Surya Kiran crash).

The Surya Kiran team had begun its practice past 11.30 AM today and the two aircraft came into contact resulting in the crash. While the two pilots ejected, one of them is suspected to have died as they parachuted down to surface from a short height. The other pilot, who was also seriously injured, was immediately shifted to Military Command Hospital. One of the aircraft fell on a house in the sparsely populated place outside the Air Force Station and were injured. But Mr Reddy said both of them were out of danger.

The incident comes close to the heals of another air crash involving HAL refurbished Mirage 2000 aircraft of the air force in which two test pilots belonging to Aircraft and System Testing Establishment (ASTE) were killed at HAL Airport in the city last week.

The today's incident, according to initial reports, took place while the Suryakiran Aerobatic team was trying to land after rehearsal, while wing of one aircraft brushed another leading to fire and explosion. The team had rehearsals since last two days in preparation for the Show beginning from Wednesday.

Immediately after the crash both the aircraft caught fire and more than 10 fire fighters have rushed to the spot and trying to extinguish the fire.

Eyewitness said, after hearing a huge sound we rushed out of our house and saw two aircraft burning and fire fighters rushed to the spot. Though our house also caught fire it was immediately extinguished and no danger. "We saw the debris of the burning aircraft and don't know about the pilots who were reportedly ejected themselves to safety."

UNI MSP-RS HVB1404

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