IAF Group Captain dies in MiG-21 accident during training mission

MOGA: An IAF MiG-21 Bison aircraft crashed during heavy rain in a field in Punjab’s Moga district, killing its pilot Squadron Leader Abhinav Choudhary, officials said The aircraft was on a training sortie from Suratgarh in Rajasthan when it crashed in Langeana village on Thursday night, said Moga Superintendent of Police Gurdeep Singh.

The Indian Air Force has ordered a Court of Inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident and said it condoles the tragic loss of its officer.

“The aircraft crashed in a field and caught fire. It was raining heavily at the time,” Singh said, adding that there was no other loss of life or damage to property The pilot’s body was found about two kilometres from the crash site, barely 200 metres from a couple of big ‘havelis’.

“Had the aircraft crashed over these houses, it could have caused heavy casualties,” Singh told PTI over the phone.

He said the pilot appeared to have deployed a parachute in a bid to land safely.

“It seems he broke his neck upon impact on the ground,” he added.

“According to the information we got, the aircraft had taken off from Suratgarh in Rajasthan for Jagraon near Ludhiana and was on the way back after a training sortie when it crashed,” Singh said.

He added that IAF officials from Halwara and Bathinda with medical teams and ambulances had reached the crash site, about 12 km from Baghapurana town on the Mudki road.

“There was an aircraft accident last night involving a Bison aircraft of IAF in the western sector. The pilot, Sqn Ldr Abhinav Choudhary, sustained fatal injuries. IAF condoles the tragic loss and stands firmly with the bereaved family,” the IAF said in a tweet.

“A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident,” it added.