New Delhi (Sputnik): The recent death of two Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots while test flying a Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) jet has now become high pitched talk on the Indian social media scene.
The discussion began with Garima Abrol taking to Instagram to express her angst at the loss of her IAF test-pilot husband, 33-year-old squadron leader Samir Abrol, who was killed in a fatal plane crash along with another pilot when they were conducting an acceptance sortie of the newly upgraded Mirage 2000 fighter jet retrofitted by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. The other one killed was 31-year-old squadron leader Siddharth Negi.
“Unforgiving and thankless is the job of a test pilot.” Heartbreaking post by Garima Abrol, wife of Squadron Leader Samir Abrol who died in the Mirage 2000 accident last week. pic.twitter.com/fRd5z5V1bP— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) February 5, 2019
None of jokers of politics n govt officials can understand what is a test pilot. And how to become a test pilot. It's a shame on us.
— Puneet Shukla (@puneetshukla78) February 4, 2019
In the poem, Garima posted "We give our warriors outdated machines to fight. They still deliver it with all their prowess and might". Scathing in her attack, she said "Never had he breathed so heavy as for the last time, while the bureaucracy enjoyed its corrupt cheese and wine". Her post bears a photo of her dead husband, with a caption "Let us pledge to expose the cause #lostpilots".
The pilot's brother, Sushant Abrol, clarified that although the poem was shared on his brother's wife's Instagram page, it was penned by him in grief while flying back with his brother's coffin.
India's Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman met the families of the two pilots to condole their deaths. With the Indian public coming in large numbers to support the family in grief, pilot Abrol's family has also issued a statement.
‘Concern for the safety of pilots requires further consideration’. Public statement just out from the family of Sqn Ldr Samir Abrol. pic.twitter.com/n7Ghw9lyHR— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) February 5, 2019
Explaining the role of a test pilot in the Indian Air Force, a former IAF test pilot told NDTV, "Before an aircraft goes to the IAF, its standards are good enough for me to bet my life on it. Remember, every pilot in the IAF is also betting his life on my judgment. As far as HAL producing sub-standard aircraft, remember that we fly these aircraft to its limits before anyone from [the] IAF touches it".
The IAF has instituted a court of inquiry to look into the cause and circumstances surrounding the fighter jet crash last Friday. HAL is also one of the constituents of this team.