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Indian Air Force MiG-21 crashes in Haryana, pilot safe

Indian Air Force MiG-21 crashes in Haryana, pilot safe

An Indian Air Force MiG-21 fighter crashed in Haryana's Sirsa district Friday following a technical snag but the pilot managed to eject moments before the plane went down, an official said.

The aircraft, which had taken off from the Sirsa airbase on a routine mission, crashed near village Mangalia, 35 km from here, the official said.

An official spokesman said that the pilot, Wing Commander J.D. Singh was safe.

A 19-year-old girl working in the fields nearby went into a state of shock upon hearing the explosion and was being treated at the Sirsa General Hospital.

Sirsa deputy commissioner Samir Pal Srow directed health department officials to provide medical care to the affected girl free of cost.

'A number of fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the burning debris of the aircraft was doused immediately,' a Sirsa district administration spokesman said.

The site of the crash is over 300 km from Chandigarh.

The recent incident in Sirsa, Haryana, where a MiG-21 crashed shortly after takeoff was a fortunate event for the pilot as he escaped the grave crash by ejection. It was the 7th incident in the MIG-21 crash this year, which is again not easily acceptable. In 2003 report from ‘The Hindu’, 350 such incidents took place during the last 13 years alone, where more than 170 pilots lost their lives. Such incidents earned the tag of “flying coffins”. An unspecified American analyst said that, “This is really unacceptable. Some heads should roll over this, and frankly this insane crash rate is making the IAF the laughing stock of air forces around the world”.

Some Salient facts about the crashes with references:

1. India, using mostly Russian aircraft, has an accident rate of 6-7 per 100,000 hours flown compared to 4-5 for all NATO air forces. 2. The Indian rate had been over ten for many years, and it is still that high, and often higher, with other nations (including Russia and China), that use Russian aircraft designs. 3. F-15s and F-16s have an accident rate of 3-4 per 100,000 flight hours. 4. 1970 – 2005: IAF has recorded around 700 crashes since 1970, with around 180 pilots, and scores of civilians on the ground losing their lives. 5. 1970 – 2005: If the 793 MiG-21s progressively inducted in IAF since 1963, 330 have been lost in accidents.

Source: Chandigarh By Indo Asian News Service- 2 December 2011 - IANS India Private Limited  (IANS)

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