A Sukhoi 30-MKI fighter plane of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed on a farm hardly 200 metres from a human settlement in Kolawadi village near Theur in Pune district on Tuesday evening. No casualties were reported and the two IAF pilots on the plane, who were on a sortie, ejected to safety, sources said.
According to Pune rural police, the plane crashed 200 metres from a settlement of about 20 houses in Undre Vasti, a hamlet in Kolawadi village around 5.30 pm. The noise of the crash drew villagers to the spot. Police teams and IAF officials rushed to the site.
“The pilots ejected near Ashtapur village nearby. We got to know they received minor injuries. After the crash, the nose of the plane was dragged 80 metres towards the settlement but fortunately it did not crash into any human being due which a major tragedy was averted,” said police inspector Chandrakant Jadhav of the Loni Kand police station.
A press release from the IAF spokesperson said, “An IAF Sukhoi 30 fighter aircraft on a training mission crashed at 1741 hours, 20 kilometres from Pune Airbase. Both pilots ejected safely. A court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause.”
Ganesh Undre, a villager said the plane crashed on his sugarcane farm. “My plantation was damaged. However, I feel the sugarcane and soft soil in the farm created a barrier due due to which the plane did not drag much after the crash and halted away from human settlement. Due to it no villager was hurt.”
An IAF team that reached the spot is collecting details to understand the reason behind the crash. Local citizens started crowding the area and to avoid obstruction in IAF work, police teams cordoned off the area.
In a similar incident, a Sukhoi had crashed in Wade Bolai village, 6 km from Wagholi in Pune on December 13, 2011. No casualties were reported then. Wing Commander Suhail and Flight Lieutenant Nautiyal had ejected to safety and they landed in Hargude Vasti, a hamlet of 10 huts in Wade Bolai.
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