MiG 27 crashes in West Bengal, debris kills one (Third Lead)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

SILIGURI/SHILLONG - A MiG 27 fighter aircraft crashed in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district Saturday morning, killing a civilian and injuring 16 others, Indian Air Force (IAF) officials and police said. The pilot ejected safely.

The accident occurred at around 11 a.m. when the aircraft, which had taken off from the Hashimara airbase at 10.30 a.m, crashed in Jorepukhri under Moinaguri police station.

Splinters of the aircraft were scattered over an area of 500 metres radius.

Inspector General of Police (North Bengal) Ranveer Kumar said one of the parts of the aircraft hit a house, killing Bholendranath Roy.

Of the 16 injured, five were in critical condition. Four of the critically injured have been admitted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital in Siliguri while the others are being treated at Jalpaiguri district hospital.

Seven of the injured were minors.

Squadron Leader Saket Verma, the pilot, ejected safely, said Ranjib Sahoo, IAF spokesman at the Eastern Air Command headquarters in Shillong.

He said the pilot had flown from the Hashimara airbase on a routine sortie.

The pilot landed at the Saptibari High School playground, about 10 km from the crash spot. He was given first aid at the Saptibari primary health centre.

“The air force has ordered a court of inquiry into the incident,” Sahoo told IANS.

Hashimara is under administrative control of the Eastern Air Command.

The aircraft had lost contact with the air traffic control at Hashimara before it crashed.

This is the fourth crash involving a MiG fighter plane this year.

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