People stand next to a plane wreckage after a Sukhoi Su-30 and a Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jets crashed during an exercise in Pahadgarh area some 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Gwailor on Jan 28, 2023. Two Indian Air Force fighter jets crashed on January 28 in an apparent mid-air collision while on exercises around 300 kilometres (185 miles) south of the capital New Delhi, police at the crash site told AFP. (PHOTO / AFP)
NEW DELHI - The third pilot in the twin air crash involving two Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets on Saturday was found dead, confirmed the IAF.
Earlier in the day, two fighter jets, a Sukhoi-30 and a Mirage-2000, crashed in central India while they were on a routine operational flying training mission. The wreckage of the two jets were found 100 km apart.
The wreckage of Mirage-2000 was found in the Morena district of Madhya Pradesh, while the remains of Sukhoi-30 were found in the neighboring state of Rajasthan
"Two fighter aircraft of IAF were involved in an accident near Gwalior today morning…One of the three pilots involved sustained fatal injuries. An inquiry has been ordered to determine the cause of the accident," the IAF said in a statement.
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Gwalior is a city in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.
The wreckage of Mirage-2000 was found in the Morena district of Madhya Pradesh, while the remains of Sukhoi-30 were found in the Bharatpur district of neighboring state Rajasthan.
It is yet to be ascertained if there was a mid-air collision between the two jets. The two fighter jets took off from IAF's Gwalior Airbase minutes before they crashed.
"Two pilots flying the Sukhoi-30 had ejected safely, though they received some injuries. Both have been airlifted and admitted to a hospital," an IAF source in Delhi was quoted as saying.
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Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief of Defence Staff Anil Chauhan to take stock of the situation.