Two Indian Air Force fighter jets – a Sukhoi Su-30 and a Mirage 2000 – have crashed in Madhya Pradesh during a training exercise, officials said on Saturday.
The Su-30 had two pilots while Mirage 2000 had one pilot, defence sources said. Two pilots are said to be safe after they managed to eject.
Search and rescue operations are underway for the third pilot.
Both the fighter jets had taken off from the Gwalior Air Force base.
Videos from the scene, shot by locals in Morena, showed debris of the aircraft on the ground.
The Air Force has launched a probe to examine if a mid-air collision led to the crash, defence sources told NDTV.
“IAF court of inquiry has been launched to establish whether there was a mid-air collision or not. The Su-30 had two pilots while Mirage 2000 had one pilot during the crash. Initial reports suggest two pilots are safe while an IAF chopper reaching the location of the third pilot soon,” sources said.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has been briefed by Indian Air Force chief on crash of two aircraft, news agency PTI reported.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said in a tweet, “The news of the crash of Sukhoi-30 and Mirage-2000 aircraft of the Air Force near Kolaras in Morena is very sad. I have instructed the local administration to cooperate with the Air Force in quick rescue and relief work. I pray to God that the pilots of the planes are safe.”
Meanwhile, another aircraft crash has been reported in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur, 100 km away, but authorities have not yet said if they are related. The aircraft crashed in an open field in the Ucchain area of the city.
“Received information about a plane crash around 10-10.15 am. After coming here, it was found it was an IAF fighter jet. Going by the debris, we’re unable to adjudge if it’s a fighter plane or a regular plane. Yet to know if pilots got out or are still in,” a police officer said, according to news agency ANI.