Bengaluru: Two aircraft, part of IAF’s aerobatic team Surya Kiran, crashed after grazing each other mid-air during a rehearsal for the Aero India show. One pilot was killed and the other two ejected safely. The deceased was identified as Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi; the survivors are Wing Commander V T Shelke and Squadron Leader T J Singh.
Thick black plumes of smoke were seen billowing from the mishap site moments after the crash, with a man in the video yelling “Oh my God, oh my God.” The Hawk jets were performing a manoeuvre with one aircraft flying inverted and the other below it, moments before they hit each other and spun out of control, according to police and eye witnesses. Both aircraft then came crashing down in a bushy area in a residential layout, but none of the local population was injured.
A court of inquiry will investigate the accident, a statement said. “I’m aware of it (incident),” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, but did not elaborate. Soon after the crash, about 100-150 people rushed to the site and tried to help the injured pilots.