NEWS
20/02/2019 10:22 AM IST

Surya Kiran Pulled From Display At Aero India After Crash Kills Pilot

Aero India 2019 begins today.

Abhishek Chinnappa / Reuters
The Indian Air Force's aerobatic display team 'Surya Kiran' performs during Aero India show at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru, February 15, 2017. 

BENGALURU — Hours after two aircraft of IAF’s aerobatic team Surya Kiran crashed, killing a pilot and injuring two who ejected to safety, Air Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria Tuesday said the Surya Kiran will not be a part of Aero India 2019 beginning on Wednesday.

Video clips of the incident showed the two jets crashing to the ground and bursting into flames near Yelahanka airbase after brushing against each other mid-air, a day ahead of the five-day event.

“We had an unfortunate incident and an investigation will take place. Surya Kiran won’t be part of display,” Bhadauria told reporters here.

All other displays will go ahead as planned, he added.

SOPA Images via Getty Images
 A view of the engine of one of the two Surya Kiran's that crashed in Bengaluru on Tuesday where two pilots were injured and one confirmed dead.

The Hawk jets were performing a manoeuvre when one was flying inverted carrying a pilot and the other below it with two pilots moments before they hit each other and spun out of control, according to police and eye witnesses.

The incident occurred at around 1150 hrs while practising for the air show, the Defence PRO office said in a statement.

One of the three aircrew of the aircraft, Wg Cdr V T Shelke and Sqn Ldr T J Singh ejected. However, Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi sustained fatal injuries, it said.

SOPA Images via Getty Images
Officials seen trying to clear the debris of the crashed plane.

Throwing light on the mishap, Bhadauria said, “In this particular incident they were doing a mirror image. The margin of error is very low. Whether it was an execution error or a bird that hit will be found out in investigation,”.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she would react after getting the details.

Earlier, Karnataka Director General of Police and Chief of Fire and Emergency Services M N Reddi said, “No major damage to any house in ISRO colony. Fire Force has completely doused the fire.”