MiG-21 fighter crashes in Kashmir, pilot unhurt

Srinagar: A MiG-21 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force crashed in Jammu and Kashmir's Badgam district on Monday, with the pilot managing to eject safely.

"A MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft crashed at 11 a.m. in Soibug area of Badgam district," a defence spokesman told IANS here.

"The pilot safely bailed out and was rescued by an army helicopter from some distance away from the crash site.

IAF officials said the fighter aircraft, on a routine training sortie, had taken off minutes earlier from the Srinagar airfield before it crashed.

A court of inquiry has been ordered.

India operates various variants of Russian MiG-21, MiG-27 and MiG-29 aircrafts, while the navy has recently inducted MiG-29 K series of fighters.A

However, a high number of accidents have earned the vintage MiG-21 the reputation of being a "flying coffin".

As per a reply in parliament by then defence minister A.K. Antony, IAF had till April 2012 lost 482 MiG aircrafts in crashes, killing 171 pilots and 39 civilians.

In 2013-14, two MiG-29 and MiG-21 planes crashed. A MiG-21 crashed in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014, while another MiG-21 crashed near Jamnagar in Gujarat in January this year.

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