One pilot killed, two eject to safety as Hawk trainer jets crash during Aero India rehearsal in Bengaluru suburbs

Wreckage of one of the Suryakiran planes that crashed near the Yelahanka airbase near Bengaluru on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

One pilot was killed and two others ejected to safety on Tuesday after two aircraft of Indian Air Force’s aerobatic team Surya Kiran crashed near the airbase at Yelahanka, a suburb of Bengaluru.

The Hawk trainer jets, which grazed each other before crashing, were on practice sorties a day ahead of the Aero India 2019 opening.

Sunil Agarwal, ADGP, Fire Services, confirmed that one pilot was dead and two pilots were injured.


The incident occurred at 11.50 a.m. just outside the Air Force Station Yelahanka, according to the IAF. The injured pilots were evacuated to the Command Hospital and are currently out of danger.

“[This] morning around 1150 hrs, two Hawk aircraft of Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team crashed close to the Yelahanka Air Force base. These aircraft were carrying out practice for the forthcoming Aero India 2019 air show. Out of the three aircrew of the aircraft, Wg Cdr VT Shelke and Sqn Ldr TJ Singh ejected. However, Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi sustained fatal injuries. The two aircrew have been airlifted to Air Force Command Hospital, Bengaluru. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the accident,” the IAF said in a statement.

'Civilian also injured'

A civilian was also injured in the mishap, police told PTI.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitaraman, who is in Bengaluru ahead of Aero India, reportedly rushed to the site.

“I’m aware of it,” Ms. Sitharaman said on the sidelines of an event, but did not elaborate further when asked about the accident.

At a pre-Aero India briefing in the evening, Air Marshal RKS Bhadauria, Air Officer Commanding in-Chief, training command Bengaluru, said, "Nine aircraft were flying in formation with a gap of 4-5 metres. They were doing what is called a mirror pass. The risks are very high."


(With inputs from PTI)

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 11:08:37 AM |

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