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Jaguar crash: second pilot’s body found

New Delhi, April 4
The body of the second pilot Flt-Lt Mayank Mayur was today recovered by Army rescuers from the wreckage of the two Jaguar fighter aircraft which crashed near Sonamarg, 60 km from Srinagar, on Friday.

The Army teams were continuing salvage operations in the area to recover the flight data recorder of the second Jaguar to ascertain the cause of the crash, IAF sources said here.

The two warplanes had gone missing in bad weather on Friday and their wreckage and the body of Flt-Lt Gagan Oberoi was found yesterday in inhospitable mountainous terrain at an altitude of 4,000 metres. The flight data recorder of one of the jets was also found yesterday.

According to Air Force sources, both the pilots were found in their flying seat which indicated that they did not get the time to eject.

The bodies of both are being brought to Ambala, the home base of the Jaguar fighter squadron, the sources said.

While Oberoi’s body is being flown today, the other pilot’s body which was retrieved earlier in the day will be flown to Ambala tomorrow after a postmortem is conducted.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force today rejected reports that the crash of the two Jaguar fighter planes near Sonamarg in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday was due to faulty spares.

An IAF spokesman here said prima facie the crash had nothing to do with spares and it was due to bad weather.

He said the accident will be fully examined by a court of inquiry which has already been instituted.

The Bangalore-based HAL was manufacturing the aircraft and the engine parts were bought from Rolls Royce and Avionics which followed the Federal Aviation Standards and British Aviation Standards, he added.

The spokesman said the parts imported to the country are checked by officials of the Directorate General of Aviation Quality Assurance. The parts which are of HAL are inspected by the Chief Resident Inspector, he said. — PTIBack


Jaguars’ crash: pilots’ bodies to reach today
Rahul Das
Tribune News Service

Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Ambala, Air Commodore L K Malhotra consoles Flight-Lt Gagan Oberoi's father, Mr D K Oberoi, in Ambala on Sunday.
Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station, Ambala, Air Commodore L K Malhotra consoles Flight-Lt Gagan Oberoi's father, Mr D K Oberoi, in Ambala on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Neeraj Chopra

Ambala, April 4
It proved to be an exceptionally long day for the near and dear ones of the Jaguar fighter pilot, Flt Lt Gagan Oberoi, as they waited for the pilot’s body to arrive at Ambala Cantonment.

In the afternoon, Air Force officers conveyed the message to the family members that Flt Lt Gagan’s body will be flown here tomorrow.

Flt Lt Mayank Mayur’s body was found today. Air Commodore of the Ambala Air Force Station, L.K. Malhotra consoled the family members. He later said the relevant formalities were being completed. “Right now, we are waiting for the family members to arrive,” he said.

The officer said they had received information about Flt Lt Mayank Mayur’s body being found. “The cremation will take place tomorrow at Ambala,” he said.

Since early morning, heart rending scenes had been witnessed at the residence of Flt Lt Gagan Oberoi. The family members of the fighter pilot broke down and at one point of time, a doctor had to be called to attend to a relative who had taken ill.

Flt Lt Gagan Oberoi’s father, Mr D.K. Oberoi, seemed to stoically bear the loss of his son. “Everything is over. Now, nothing is left,” he said, with a resigned shake of his head.

Mr D.K. Oberoi, who works at Ordnance Factory in Itarsi, recalled that “Gagan had been busy for the past two months. In fact, he had participated in the Air Force fire power exercise and after finishing the exercise, he had started extensive flights now. I had not been able to meet him for the past one year as he was busy.”

Flt Lt Gagan Oberoi’s father-in-law, Mr S.K. Aggarwal, said they were shocked to hear about Gagan’s death. “When the incident took place, we were not aware that our son-in-law was one of the pilots’ whose aircraft had gone missing. Thereafter, Nidhi, my daughter, gave us a call to inform us that Flt Lt Gagan was flying one of the Jaguar aircraft which was missing,” he said.

Mr Aggarwal said Flt Lt Gagan Oberoi had a pleasing personality. “My daughter, Flt Lt Nidhi, had met Gagan during her training at Secunderabad. They got married on March 2, 2002,” he said. “They had come to Ambala about a year back,” he added.

Flt Lt Mayank Mayur’s residence at the Double Decker Air Force single officer’s accommodation was locked. His parents are expected to arrive at Ambala from Lucknow late this evening.

Flt Lt Mayank Mayur’s orderly, Mr Dhani Ram, said the pilot was a hardworking as well as jovial officer. “He was a bachelor but he was planning to get married this year,” he said.


Fernandes slams Cong for ‘politicising’ Jaguar crash

Bangalore, April 4
Dismissing the Congress charge that Jaguar crashes on Friday were due to sub-standard spares, Defence Minister George Fernandes today attacked the party, charging it with ‘politicising’ the issue and ‘hurting the country’s armed forces’. “The issue is being politicised by people who have no sense of decency. They are hurting the country’s armed forces,” Fernandes told reporters here.

“How does a Congress fellow know that there was spares problem? Did he go 20,000 feet up there? Did he go into the snow? It took our soldiers three days to reach there (in the hills to find the wreckage),” he said. Jaguars were one of the finest aircraft in the IAF fleet, he added. He said the cause of the crash would be known only after an inquiry is conducted by the IAF.

The Congress had expressed concern over the frequent crashes of IAF fighter aircraft, including the two Jaguars. It had alleged that it was happening because of import of sub-standard spare parts by the government agencies. — PTI

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