New Delhi: A female trainee pilot and a flight instructor were killed after a trainer aircraft crashed and caught fire on Saturday in the hilly region of Madhya Pradesh’s Naxalite-affected Balaghat district, PTI reported officials as saying.
According to an official from Gondia in neighbouring Maharashtra, the aircraft belonged to the IGRAU (Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi) which was on a training sortie, and prima facie bad weather caused the crash, reported PTI.
Balaghat Superintendent of Police Sameer Saurabh said two badly burnt bodies were recovered from the spot which falls under the Lanji police station.
He said the charred body of a man (believed to be that of pilot Mohit Thakur’s) was found on the hills of Lanji and Kirnapur areas, about 40 km from the Balaghat district headquarters, near the site of the crash.
“We received information at around 3:45 pm (about the crash). As the area falls under the Naxalite-infested belt, security forces were summoned. Other personnel reached the spot after the area was cordoned off. We have recovered the bodies of the flight instructor and the woman pilot which are badly burnt. The spot comes under the Lanji police station”, PTI quoted Saurabh as saying.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Anurag Sharma told PTI that the trainer aircraft took off from the Birsi airstrip in the Gondia district bordering Balaghat at 3.06 pm. It lost connection with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) at 3.11 pm.
“It is widely believed that the charred body was that of pilot Mohit Thakur’s (around 25 years),” he said and added the woman trainee pilot, Vrikshanka Maheshwari, (around 20 years) is missing.
“Prima facie, both of them perished in the crash,” he added.
IGRAU Administrative Officer Satya Kumar told PTI that the trainer aircraft belonged to IGRAU (Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi). It crashed at the hills near Bhukkutola village in Balaghat district at around 3:30 pm, killing a flight training captain and a female trainee.
“The trainer aircraft with flight instructor captain Mohit took off from the Birsi airport on a routine sortie at around 3 PM. It reportedly crashed due to bad weather in the hills near Bhukkutola village,” he said.
“The aircraft caught fire in which bodies of captain Mohit and the trainee pilot were badly mutilated. After getting the information, a fire-fighting team and a rescue team from Birsi along with other officials concerned rushed to the spot,” he added.
The aircraft’s wreckage was traced on the hills, according to Kumar, who added that villagers were first to reach the spot.