Tuesday, September 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

2 MiGs crash
Rahul Das
Tribune News Service

Ambala, September 9
A fighter aircraft, MiG-21, of the Indian Air Force crashed in the Naggal area here this afternoon. The pilot managed to bail out safely.

According to an agency report from New Delhi, a MiG-21 crashed in Shivpur in Pali district of Rajasthan, 300 km from Jaipur. The pilot, who ejected safely, was taken to Jodhpur by an IAF chopper.

The MiG-21 which took off from the Ambala air force station crashed into the paddy fields near Chour Mastpur village at about 3.45 p.m.

The pilot of the fighter aircraft, Sqn Ldr Rajat Nagia, ejected out of the aircraft. However, he is reported to have sustained injuries on his back.

An officer said apparently the MiG-21, which is also referred to as the “flying coffin”, developed “technical problem”. He said Squadron Leader Nagia seemed to have realised that there was a technical problem in the aircraft and he bailed out on time.

He observed that the possibility of the fighter pilot having ejected in an area which is not populated cannot be ruled out. Squadron Leader Nagia, who ejected on time, parachuted down at Panjola village, which is a few kilometres away from the crash site.

A local villager, Sahir Singh, is said to be the first person to have reached the fighter pilot who had sustained injuries on his back.

The police was informed, who rushed him to the Baknaur air force station. From there, he was shifted to a hospital by a helicopter.

A visit to the spot revealed that the MiG-21 had crashed in the paddy field at one end and had come to a stop at the other end. The point where it touched down and where it halted was obvious since it had flattened paddy along the way.

The paddy fields were inundated with water and it was slippery. Air Force officials faced a difficulty while reaching to the site. The black box of the aircraft is believed to have been recovered and it is likely to throw light on the exact sequence of events before the crash took place.

Senior district administration officials, including Deputy Commissioner D.D. Gautam, SP Manoj Yadava, DSP Udey Shankar visited the crash site. The paddy field, in which the aircraft was lying, had been cordoned off.

A large number of villagers had turned up at Chour Mastpur village to have a look at the wreckage. The narrow road leading to the village was choked with people and vehicles. “We have come to see the plane which has crashed,” a local villager said.


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