A newly upgraded Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage 2000 TI aircraft crashed Friday morning while on a test sortie at the old HAL airport in Bengaluru, killing both pilots.
The deceased were identified as Squadron Leader Siddharth Negi(31) and Squadron Leader Sameer Abrol(33), attached to the Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment of the IAF. The crash occurred during a “take off roll’’ within the periphery of the HAL airport.
The aircraft crashed in an open, bushy area on the edge of the airfield. The incident happened barely 100 metres away from a busy road which houses several buildings of IT companies. SEE PHOTOS FROM THE CRASH SITE
The pilots managed to eject from the plane before it crashed. While Negi died at the crash site, Abrol was taken to the nearby HAL hospital where he was declared dead.
“HAL regrets to inform that one upgraded Mirage 2000 aircraft crashed during the customer acceptance flight at HAL airport here today around 10.30 am resulting in loss of lives of two pilots Sqn Ldr Sameer Abrol and Sqn Ldr Siddartha Negi,’’ HAL said in a statement on Friday.
“Today morning a Mirage 2000 trainer aircraft on an acceptance sortie after upgrade crashed at HAL airport, Bengaluru. Both occupants sustained fatal injuries,” a defence ministry statement said on Friday afternoon.
Doctors at the HAL hospital where Abrol was taken after the crash said he was brought with multiple injuries including severe burns.
Negi who is from Dehradun was commissioned into the IAF on June 27, 2009 while Abrol who is from Ghaziabad in UP was commissioned on June 21, 2008. They were flying the second acceptance sortie of the upgraded Mirage 2000 when the crash occurred.
The Mirage 2000 aircraft made by the French firm Dassault Aviation was inducted into the Indian Air Force from 1985 and performed exceedingly well during the Kargil conflict in 1999.
The Mirage 2000 fleet in the IAF is being upgraded under a $ 2.2 billion agreement signed in 2011 to put it in the league of a multi-role combat aircraft.
The crash on Friday was the first one involving an upgraded Mirage 2000 TI aircraft since these fighters began being delivered to the IAF by HAL in 2016