Fighter pilot killed in MiG-21 crash

Fighter pilot killed in MiG-21 crash

The mangled remains of the MiG-21 aircraft that crashed at Bhaliana in Muktsar district, Punjab, on Thursday. PTI

Flight lieutenant Manu Akhouri, who was in his mid-20s, had taken off from the Bhatinda airbase on a routine training sortie and was returning to the base for landing when the mishap occurred, an IAF spokesman said in Delhi.

Eighth crash

This is the eighth IAF plane crash this year and Akhouri is the fifth fighter pilot to die in an air mishap this year.

The crash occurred at Bhaliana village on Muktsar-Bhatinda road at 14:17 IST, Muktsar deputy commissioner Rajat Aggarwal told PTI over phone. A court of inquiry has been ordered into the mishap, the IAF spokesman said.

This is the third MiG-21 crash this year. On June 18, a MiG FL had crashed in Chabua in Assam and the pilot had bailed out to safety. Another MiG-21 had crashed on May 27 near Jodhpur in Rajasthan. The first Air Force plane crash this year took place at Bidar air base in Karnataka.