NEW DELHI: Wednesday's naval aircraft crash in Hyderabad is the fourth fatal incident involving aerial display teams in the last four years.

The IAF operates the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) and the Sarang helicopter display team, while the Navy has the four-aircraft Sagar Pawan Aerobatic Team (SPAT).

The SKAT and the SPAT perform aerobatics with the HAL-built HJT 16 Kiran Mk-II aircraft and the Sarang team performs aerial displays using indigenously built ALH Dhruv choppers.

In Wednesday's incident involving the SPAT, formed in 2003, two pilots were killed and seven persons injured on the ground when the aircraft crashed into a three-storey residential building. The first fatal accident involving the SKAT took place near its home base in Bidar, Karnataka, on March 18, 2006 during a training sortie, killing Wing Commander Deeraj Bhatia and Squadron Leader Shailender Singh. The team met with an accident again on January 21 last year, when one of its aircraft crashed during practice, killing Wing Commander R.S. Dhaliwal near Bidar.

In February 2007, the Sarang team had its first fatal accident when one of its ALH Dhruv choppers crashed in Bangalore during a rehearsal before the Aero India show there. Co-pilot Priye Sharma and pilot V Jetely were killed.

The Sarang team had a narrow escape on Saturday when one of its choppers crashlanded at Jaisalmer while rehearsing for the Vayu Shakti air show there. — PTI

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