A Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed during a routine sortie in Bhind district of Madhya Pradesh on Friday.
Air Marshal Anil Chopra, Air Officer (Personnel) and Wing Commander Ram Kumar, Commanding Officer of the Gwalior-based Mirage 2000 squadron, however, ejected safely.
The aircraft crashed some 50 km north-east of Gwalior in the ravines of Bhind district at 12.10 p.m., an Air Force spokesperson said.
Later, the IAF said reported that both the pilots were safe.
A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the cause of the crash.
According to preliminary reports, the aircraft engine developed a snag after take-off and it “flamed out.”
The pilots ejected after efforts to re-ignite the engine failed.
IAF officials said that it was for the first time that a Mirage 2000 suffered engine failure since the induction of the aircraft.
Air Marshal Chopra is among the first batch of pilots trained to fly the machine inducted into the IAF 25 years ago and also the Commodore Commandant of the squadron.
‘A morale booster'
“Being the commandant of the squadron, it is a tradition to fly a sortie when on a visit as a morale booster,” a senior IAF officer said.
In July last, the IAF signed a $ 2.2 billion dollar deal with French company Dassault Aviation and Thales to upgrade 51 Mirage 2000 in its inventory while earlier this year, the Centre cleared a $ 1 billion deal for supply of MBDA's MICA missiles to be fitted on the aircraft.
Friday's crash is the second accident the IAF suffered this year — a Kiran trainer aircraft crashed in January.
According to PTI, Chambal Range Deputy Inspector General D.P. Gupta told reporters in Gwalior that the wreckage of the plane was found near the Kunwari river. He identified the area as Gorelal Ka Pura hamlet under Bhind district's Gormi Police Station.