Two pilots eject to safety
A Kiran (Mk.2) trainer aircraft of the Indian Air Force plunged into a lake at Ayyancheri in Urapakkam on the city's fringes on Tuesday morning. Two pilots on a routine sortie ejected to safety.
While one of them was rendered immobile after he landed on his waist, the other had a miraculous escape after he came in contact with overhead power supply cables while descending on his parachute.
Wing Commander C.G. Deepak and Squadron Leader K.P. Singh had taken off shortly after 10 a.m. from the Tambaram IAF station and were preparing to land when the aircraft reportedly developed a snag.
Around 11 a.m., the pilots ejected and the aircraft plunged into the waters of the sprawling Ayyancheri ‘periya eri'. Residents rushed to the lake and the spot where the pilots had descended. They provided immediate help to them and informed Otteri and Guduvanchery police stations.
Personnel from the IAF station arrived some time later. Two helicopters made aerial surveys and landed beside the water body.
The pilots were taken in vehicles to the helicopter from where they were taken to the IAF station where they were administered first aid and shifted to the Military Hospital in St. Thomas Mount by road, said IAF staff.
More officials from the IAF station reached the spot and, with the help of police and Fire and Rescue Services personnel began salvaging the aircraft's wreckage.
Firemen dived into the lake and tied long and thick ropes around the aircraft's wreckage. Airmen, firemen and police personnel, with the support of residents, including the elected representatives of Urapakkam village panchayat, pulled out the tail portion of the aircraft first.
A tractor from the IAF station was brought and more parts of the wreckage were recovered.
Later in the day, a giant crane was brought to the spot. Pulling out the largest part of the wreckage proved a big challenge. IAF officials were tight-lipped.
An officer, however, said that the pilots were alert enough to minimise the damage. They might have been sure that aircraft was about to crash. Hence, they manoeuvred the aircraft in such a manner that it plunged into the lake.
A release issued by the Press Information Bureau (Defence Wing) said that a court of inquiry has been ordered.