A MiG-21 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed some 20-km west of Jamnagar city on Saturday afternoon into a mangrove forest but its pilot managed to eject before the crash and landed safely.
The fighter jet, which the Air Force said was on a routine flying mission, crashed near Bed-Rusalnagar village around 2 pm. However, its pilot safely ejected and landed near Sarmat firing range of the Air Force. The aircraft had taken off from the Jamnagar airbase of the Indian Air Force.
Police said the wreckage of the plane landed in a creek near Bed-Rusalnagar village and that the area was full of mud and mangroves.
“We got information about the crash around 2 pm. The pilot has ejected safely and he has been rescued by the Air Force. There is no damage on the ground either as the debris of the plane landed in a creek area which is muddy and there is no human activity there,” Niraj Badgujar, superintendent of police of Jamnagar, told The Sunday Express.
The SP further said that there was no fire on the ground after the fighter plane crash-landed. “Police have reached the crash site and we are cordoning off the area so that the Air Force can retrieve the wreckage of the plane,” he added.
The MIG-21 fleet of the Air Force is ageing and crashes have claimed lives of many pilots in recent years. Due to such crashes, the Russian-made fighter jets have come to be dubbed as “flying coffins.”
The IAF officials in Gandhinagar said that the MiG 21 did not catch fire after it crashed. The sources said that the pilot had ejected the fuel tank completely to save the calamity of fire. The IAF has ordered an inquiry into the incident, the officials said.
This is the first crash of a MiG 21 this year. In 2012, two IAF choppers had collided and crashed near the same spot between Bed and Samrath villages and nine personnel had been killed. Last year two air crashes were reported of the IAF UAV at Bhuj in November 2014 and a Jaguar had crashed in Bhuj in August 2014.
A MiG-27 fighter aircraft crashed last Tuesday in Rajasthan’s Barmer district.
(With PTI inputs)