Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Very few of the dignitaries watching the aerobatic display at the Begumpet airport realised that the Sagar Pawan aircraft had crashed till about five minutes after the tragedy on Wednesday.

As the four naval aircraft peeled off from the formation, dove down and went in different directions, everyone imagined that all off them would re-appear on the skyline sometime later. But, that was not to be.

It was around 11.25 a.m. that the four planes, bearing the unusual dark blue on white colour, took off. After performing aerobatics for just 20 minutes, they flew in a straight line, climbed up and began nose diving at high speed. While the spectators had no immediate inkling of what was happening, one of the four aircraft drifted away from the formation and crashed onto a three-storeyed building.

It was only after seeing huge smoke billowing from the crash site did the people realise that something was amiss and started making enquiries with the media about the mishap and casualties if any.

Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, at a press conference later, described it as an unfortunate incident and refrained from saying anything further as he was awaiting authentic information. “The incident is indeed unfortunate. But I cannot make comments about it off-hand without receiving full details from the Navy.”

Speculation

The accident sparked off speculation on whether the event would continue for the day or not. The organisers had a tough time in convincing the business and other delegates that the incident would not interrupt the business agenda of the aviation companies that arrived in good numbers.