Srinagar, May 27 :
An Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot was killed Tuesday when his MiG-21 fighter plane crashed in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, authorities said.
Police said here that the IAF MiG-21 fighter plane crashed in Marhama (Bijbehara) village of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, 45 km from Srinagar, Tuesday morning.
“The pilot of the fighter plane, Squadron Leader Raghu Bansi, died in this crash,” an official said.
“His body has been recovered from the crash site. It was airlifted to IAF field station in a helicopter. Teams of army, IAF and state police have reached the crash site. The debris of the aircraft is being removed by the IAF personnel,” the official said.
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, who took charge earlier in the day, said he was “extremely sorry” to learn about the accident and called it a “matter of great concern”.
A statement from the air force said the MiG-21 crashed about 10 km short of the Awantipur air base at around 10.45 a.m.
“The pilot from Srinagar was on a routine training sortie,” the statement said.
Local officials said the pilot’s body had been recovered. A police officer identified him as Squadron Leader Raghu Bansi.
“His body has been … airlifted to the IAF field station. Army, IAF and police teams are at the crash site. The debris of the aircraft are being removed by IAF personnel,” the official said.
Minister Jaitley said in New Delhi: “It is a matter of great concern. My heart goes out to the pilot who lost his life.”
The air force has ordered a court of inquiry.