New Delhi (Sputnik) — A MiG-21 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed at Kangra in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday afternoon. The IAF has confirmed the death of the pilot in the accident. A court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.
"We express deep grief at the martyrdom of a brave air warrior. At 1220 hrs today, a MiG21 of IAF, airborne from Pathankot Airfield for a test, crashed near Pathankot. Our heartfelt condolences to the family of brave pilot Sqn Ldr Meet Kumar, who we lost in the fateful crash," Nirmala Sitharaman, India's minister of defense, said.
The massive crater at the MIG-21 crash site in Kangra. pic.twitter.com/hjXkPHxjHg— Man Aman Singh Chhina (@manaman_chhina) July 18, 2018
"Police are present on the spot. The fire has been doused but debris is scattered everywhere. … No one else was injured," Santosh Patial, a police superintendent in Kangra, said.
The MiG-21 took off from Punjab's Pathankot & later lost contact with its system. Police present on the spot. Fire has been doused but debris are scattered everywhere. The only pilot who was present in the plane is missing. No one else was injured: Kangra SP Santosh Patial pic.twitter.com/aWQhEYkrZD— ANI (@ANI) July 18, 2018
Earlier in the day, the Indian Defense Ministry had informed the parliament that a total 25 IAF aircraft were destroyed in accidents in the last three years wherein 39 lives were lost.
"Every aircraft accident is investigated by a Court of Inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident and the recommendations of the completed Courts of Inquiry are implemented," Subhash Bhamre, India's minister of state for defense, told the parliament.