Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh): The Indian Air Force on Saturday evening issued an update that Wing Commander Hanumanth Rao Sarathi sustained fatal injuries after two Indian Air Force fighter jets, a Sukhoi Su-30 and a Mirage 2000 crashed during a training exercise earlier on Saturday morning in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena. Wing Commander Hanumanth Rao Sarathi was in the Sukhoi Su-30 aircraft.
“IAF deeply regrets to inform you that Wing Commander Hanumanth Rao Sarathi suffered fatal injuries during the accident. All air warriors and the fraternity stand strongly with the bereaved family,” IAF said.
Earlier the IAF officials reported that the body parts of one pilot have been retrieved while two other pilots in the Sukhoi who ejected from their plane were rescued and taken to the hospital in a helicopter.
While one aircraft crashed in Morena in Madhya Pradesh, the other crashed and landed in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur.
“The possible mid-air collision between the two aircraft occurred when they were flying a simulated combat mission at very high speeds. More details would come out in the court of inquiry,” Defence sources said.
The Sukhoi had two pilots, while the Mirage had one pilot, defence sources said. Both aircraft are used on the frontlines by the Indian Air Force. The two pilots on the Sukhoi managed to eject and were taken to the hospital in a helicopter. The Mirage pilot lost his life and his relatives have been informed about the incident.
SP Morena, Ashutosh Bagree said that there was a fire reported by some people here and the team also received information that parts of two jets -Mirage and Sukhoi- that had taken off from Gwalior were seen fallen on the ground here.
Defence sources said that an IAF court of inquiry would establish whether the accident happened due to a mid-air collision or not.