IAF pilots killed in Barmer fighter jet crash hailed from Jammu, Mandi

New Delhi, July 29

The two pilots of the Indian Air Force, who were killed in an air crash on Thursday night hailed from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu.

The IAF announced that Wing Commander M Rana, hailing from Mandi and Flight Lieutenant Advitiya Bal from Jammu, were in the ill-fated MiG 21 fighter jet that crashed on Thursday night near Barmer in southwest Rajasthan abutting Pakistan.

The plane was a trainer version of the Russian-origin fighter jet. A trainer version of the jet has two pilots.

The ill-fated jet had taken-off for a night-training sortie. It burst into flames mid-air and crashed to ground, leaving no time for the pilots to eject. The crash occurred at 9.10 pm.

The IAF had announced that the two pilots had died, their pictures and identification were released on Friday morning.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday night spoke to IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and inquired about the crash. The minister expressed his deep anguish at the loss of lives. He tweeted: " Deeply anguished by the loss of two Air Warriors due to an accident of IAF's Mig-21 trainer aircraft near Barmer in Rajasthan. Their service to the nation will never be forgotten. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of sadness."

IAF has some 70 MiG 21 jets which are a 1960s design but the ones being flown are 30-35 years or more in age.. The IAF has in the past announced that it intends to phase out the MiG 21 fleet by 2025.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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