The pilot of a Jaguar fighter jet of the Indian Air Force had to make an emergency landing at Ambala air base after a bird hit Thursday. He also had to jettison the flight’s external fuel tanks and some other load.
There was panic in the residential colonies surrounding the air force station after a muffled blast, which was followed by dry bushes catching fire, leaving the area covered with smoke. Fortunately, the fuel tank did not fall on a residential area. The debris that did fall in the area and was taken away by an IAF team that visited the locality soon afterwards.
“One of the Jaguar’s engine had suffered the bird hit and as standard practice, the pilot jettisoned the fuel tank and some other load. The pilot managed to land the aircraft safely. There were no casualties or reports of anyone sustaining any injury. The aircraft had taken off on a training sortie when the incident occurred,” said an IAF official.
Ambala’s Superintendent of Police Mohit Handa told The Indian Express over phone, “Some objects (fuel tank) fell outside the air force station near a residential area in Ambala, but no one was injured, though panic gripped the area for a while.”
Officials said an ambulance and a fire brigade were rushed to the spot as a precaution.
The Ambala air station is surrounded by illegal colonies in which many people have raised three-storey buildings, which poses a grave danger to the station. Sources in the administration said that IAF authorities have been taking up the matter of these encroachments bordering the station with the civil administration, but no action is being taken due to “political pressure”.
A court of inquiry has been ordered.
An AN-32 transport aircraft crashed in Arunachal Pradesh killing 13 people on June 3.
As many as 33 IAF aircraft, including 19 fighter jets, met accidents since 2015-16, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had told the Lok Sabha Wednesday.
* The aircraft took off from Ambala air base on a training mission at around 7.45 am
* It, however, suffered an engine failure due a suspected bird hit immediately after the takeoff
* The pilot jettisoned external stores including practice bombs as per protocol and carried out a safe landing
* There was a muffled blast, after which the area was full of smoke due to some bushes catching fire
* One of the fuel tanks landed in a residential area near the air base but no one was injured
— With inputs from Agencies