SNS & PTI
New Delhi/Jaipur, 28 March
A US-made C-130J military transport plane, one of the most modern aircraft acquired recently by the IAF, crashed today near Gwalior, killing all the five crew members, including four officers.
The aircraft, procured at an estimated cost of Rs 965 crore a piece along with five others, crashed an hour after taking off from Agra airbase for an exercise, officials said. IAF ordered a court of inquiry to ascertain the cause of the mishap.
Those killed in the crash are the aircraft's Captain Wing Commander Prashant Joshi, Wing Commander Raji Nair, Squadron Leader Kaushik Mishra, Squadron Leader Ashish Yadav (Navigator) and Warrant Officer Krishnapal Singh (Flight Engineer), IAF officials said.
“One C-130J aircraft crashed 72 miles (115 km) west of Gwalior air base. The aircraft was airborne from Agra at 1000 hours for a routine flying training mission,” an IAF spokesperson said in New Delhi.
Senior IAF officials said two C-130J Super Hercules aircraft had taken off together while taking part in a tactical exercise, which involved flying at very low heights, at 10 am but one of them crashed at around 11 am.
IAF sources said the aircraft, fitted with four Rolls Royce engines, could not even communicate about the emergency before it lost contact with ground control.
The 'Black Box' of the aircraft has been recovered and is being analysed to assess the reason for the crash. The bodies were recovered from the debris by a rescue team of Airforce's Medical unit and taken back to airforce base by a flight, Karauli District Collector B L Jatawat told PTI over phone from the spot.
Quoting villagers, Jatawat said the plane probably hit some hillock and caught fire on the banks of the Chambal river and ravine areas at Gotaghat. The home base of the 77 squadron 'Veiled Vipers' operating the aircraft is Hindon in Ghaziabad near here.