Two jets of the Indian Air Forces’ Surya Kiran aerobatics team collided in mid-air in Bengaluru, leading to the death of a pilot.
The fatal incident took place just a day before the 12th edition of Aero India 2019 begins at the Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru. It has been repoted that there were three pilots in the two aircrafts, out of which one is reportedly dead and two others ejected safely.
The two Surya Kiran jets crashed while rehearsing at the Yelahanka Airbase in Bengaluru. The Surya Kiran is an aerobatic team of the Indian Air Force that is renowned for performing breathtaking mid-air stunts.
In a video released from the official twitter handle of ANI, it can be seen thick black smoke rising from the aircrafts. Oh my god, oh my god,” a man can be heard saying as the jets crashed into a bushy area in Yelahanka’s ISRO Layout, a residential area. The area near the burning jets has been cordoned off by the police.
#WATCH Two aircraft of Surya Kiran Aerobatics Team crashed today at Yelahanka airbase in Bengaluru, during rehearsal for #AeroIndia2019. One civilian hurt. Both pilots ejected, the debris has fallen near ISRO layout, Yelahanka new town area. #Karnataka pic.twitter.com/gJHWx6OtSm— ANI (@ANI) February 19, 2019
Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is in Bengaluru and is rushing to the Yelahanka airbase. “I’m aware of it (incident),” she said, but did not elaborate further.
Aero India 2019 will be held between February 20 and 24. The stunning formations by the Surya Kirans, the Air Force’s dare-devil aerobatic squadron are a regular highlight of the aero show.
Thousands of visitors are expected to attend the five-day biennial event. Bengaluru has been hosting the aero show since it started in 1996. The last Aero India show was held in February 2017.
Besides business delegates from all over the world, official delegations from a dozen countries is expected to witness the fly-past and aerobatic display on the inaugural day.
As against 72 aircraft in the previous edition in 2017, only 61 aircraft have been registered for flying and static display on the tarmac of the air base this time.
This year, a battery of US Naval assets, including the F/A-18 Super Hornet, will be on display at the aero show as part of strengthening defense cooperation between the two countries.
On Day One, a fly-by will be performed by B-52 Stratofortress bombers assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomb Squadron from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
(With Inputs from agencies)