Armed forces

An IAF MiG-23 Aircraft Crashes Near Jodhpur, Pilots Eject Safely

The wreckage of the IAFs MIG-23 trainer aircraft that crashed at Balesar near Jodhpur on Thursday. Both pilots of the aircraft ejected safely. Credit: PTI

Jodhpur: A MiG-23 trainer aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed in an open field on the morning of July 6, near the Jodhpur-Jaisalmer highway.

According to the defence sources, the jet carrying two pilots was on a routine sortie and had taken off from Jodhpur station at 12 noon, however the engine soon started malfunctioning. “Close to village Gopasar, some 70 km from Jodhpur, the engine of the plane caught fire due to some technical snag,” an official source said.

The pilots immediately steered the plane away from populated areas to ensure that there are no casualties and then ejected, the source said. Both pilots landed on the ground unhurt, even as the plane crashed into the ground turning into a mangled mass of metal.

“The plane crashed in a open field after catching fire. The entire field was strewn with debris,” said Balesar CO Ajeet Singh, adding that no loss of life was reported.

According to the locals, the plane turned into a ball of fire in the sky and came shooting down towards the ground, wobbling a bit, before it crashed in the field with a bang. Soon after the crash, IAF officials rushed to the spot and cordoned off the entire area, they said.

The IAF has initiated a court of inquiry into the matter.

The incident comes just two days after an IAF helicopter crashed in Arunachal Pradesh which crashed shortly after taking off from Pilputu helipad near Sagalee in Papum Pare district. It lost contact with the ground staff minutes after take-off, officials had said.