Pilots injured in Surya Kiran plane crash recovering: IAF

Bengaluru: The Indian Air Force yesterday issued a statement that the two pilots of the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team -Wg Cdr V T Shelke and Sqn Ldr T J Singh – who were injured in the collision between two aircraft during rehearsal were recovering and out of danger.

Three pilots were involved in the crash of the two Hawk Mk-132 aircraft on Tuesday, a day before the Aero India show. In the collision of the two jets of the Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team, Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi was killed and two others – Wg Cdr V T Shelke and Sqn Ldr T J Singh – injured.

The two jets collided while attempting a mid-air spin manoeuvre during rehearsals for the upcoming Aero India show at the Yelahanka airbase, Bengaluru.

One aircraft was flying with both seats occupied, said an eye-witness. The people witnessed two flashes after the collision which indicate two chutes being deployed. Unfortunately, the third pilot was not able to eject on time say sources.

Following this tragic incident, Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria on Tuesday had announced that the Surya Kiran will not be a part of Aero India 2019 – the 12th edition of Asia’s premier air show – which began yesterday at the Yelahanka air base.

Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar issued a statement lauding engineering student Chethan Kumar B M and his friends who came to the rescue of the two injured crew members after the crash.

“Even as we grieve the loss of air warrior Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi, I join all Indians, Bengalureans and Kannadigas in saluting Chethan Kumar B M and his friends for rushing in and helping our injured air warriors – Wing Commander Vijay Shelke and Squadron Leader Tejeshwar Singh,” he said in his message.

NT Bureau