Srinagar: An Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot was killed Tuesday when his MiG-21 fighter plane crashed in Anantnag district in Jammu and Kashmir, authorities said.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who took charge earlier in the day, said he was “extremely sorry” to learn about the accident and called it a “matter of great concern”.

A statement from the air force said the MiG-21 crashed about 10 km short of the Awantipur air base at around 10.45 a.m.

“The pilot from Srinagar was on a routine training sortie,” the statement said.

Local officials said the pilot’s body had been recovered. A police officer identified him as Squadron Leader Raghu Bansi.

“His body has been … airlifted to the IAF field station. Army, IAF and police teams are at the crash site. The debris of the aircraft are being removed by IAF personnel,” the official said.

Minister Jaitley said in New Delhi: “It is a matter of great concern. My heart goes out to the pilot who lost his life.”

The air force has ordered a court of inquiry.

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