MiG-21 ''Bison'' crashes in Madhya Pradesh, pilot ejects safely

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Gwalior (MP), Feb 4 (PTI) An IAF MiG-21 ''Bison'' fighteraircraft today crashed apparently due to an engine problemwhile on a routine sortie in Madhya Pradesh''s Sheopur districtbut the pilot ejected safely.

The plane went down at 11:25 AM near Bela-Bhimlatvillage, about 150 km south-west of Gwalior air base aftertaking off from there, an IAF spokesperson said.

"The plane developed some engine problem. The pilotSquadron Leader Falguni Laha Roy managed to eject and landedsafely on the ground," he said.

A rescue helicopter was sent to fetch the pilot, thespokesman said, adding that a court of inquiry has beenordered into the incident.

He said the crash took place in a forest area and therewas no damage on the ground.

This is the first crash of a MiG series fighter aircraftthis year. In 2010, a total of 10 IAF aircraft crashes tookplace including four MiG-27 and two MiG-21 planes.

While two MiG-27 aircraft crashed in Hashimara in WestBengal, two other such war planes went down in Barmer inRajasthan and Kalaikunda in West Bengal. The MiG-21s crashedin Bagdogra (West Bengal) and Halwara in Punjab.

Besides the fighter planes, the IAF also lost threehelicopters last year -- a Mi-17, a Mi-26 and one Chetak.

While in the February 16 Hashimara crash, the pilot haddied, in the second crash in Hashimara on July 30, threepeople were killed on the ground but the pilot had ejectedsafely.

In the Mi-17 crash in Arunachal Pradesh, two pilots and10 others on board were killed in November last year. Onepilot and two crew members were killed in the Chetak crash inLeh on September 11 last year. There were no casualties in theMi-26 crash in Jammu.

A Cheetah helicopter of the Army Aviation Corps crashedin a residential area in Nashik on February 2 this year,killing both its pilots but there was no casualty on theground.

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