3 civilians dead as MiG-21 crashes in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh; pilot safe

Two women died and a man was injured as the plane crashed on their house in Bahlolnagar

MiG crash
Locals gather around the spot of the MiG-21 crash in Bahlolnagar on Monday | Video grab: Twitter/ANI

A MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in Hanumangarh district of Rajasthan on Monday (May 8), leaving three civilians dead on the ground, police said.

The pilot ejected in time and was reported to be safe. Media reports said he had reported a snag in the aircraft soon after take-off.

“A MiG-21 aircraft of the IAF crashed near Suratgarh during a routine training sortie today morning. The pilot ejected safely, sustaining minor injuries. An inquiry has been constituted to ascertain the cause of the accident,” the IAF said in a statement.

Plane crashes on house

The aircraft that had taken off from Suratgarh crashed near Bahlolnagar in Hanumangarh, some 35 km away.

Additional Superintendent of Police, Jassaram Bose, earlier said at least two civilian casualties had been reported. Two women died and a man was injured as the plane crashed on their house in Bahlolnagar. Later, news agency ANI reported that the death toll had risen to three.

“The pilot made all efforts to avert human casualties and crash-landed the plane on the outskirts of the village,” NDTV quoted Om Prakash, Inspector General of Police, Bikaner, as saying.

Superintendent of Police Sudhir Chaudhary said a rescue operation is underway. According to news agency ANI, an army helicopter has reached the accident site for rescue operation.

MiG’s dubious record

The Russian-made MiG-21s have been India’s longest serving fighters jets but with a dubious record. The first one was inducted in 1963 and since then, over 400 MiG-21 aircraft have reportedly crashed, killing 200 pilots and 60 civilians.

Because of its notorious record of crashing — even during normal sorties and training missions — the jet has been dubbed the “flying coffin” and the “widow maker”.

Last July, two pilots were killed when a MiG-21 fighter aircraft crashed in Rajasthan’s Barmer district.

Also read: IAF jets crash: Mirage black box, part of Sukhoi data recorder recovered

Last week, an Indian Army helicopter with two pilots and a technician crashed in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Earlier this year, in January, a Sukhoi Su-30 and a Mirage 2000 collided mid-air during a training exercise, killing one pilot. While one aircraft crashed in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena, the other crashed in neighbouring Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

(With agency inputs)