Barmer (Raj) : A MiG-21 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force crashed in a village in Barmer district on Wednesday following a “technical malfunction” during a routine trainee sortie but the pilot ejected safely, officials said.
It is the fourth MiG-21 crash this year.
The plane crashed in a largely uninhabited area in village Matsar at about 5.30 PM, they said, adding the IAF has ordered a Court of Inquiry.
Defence spokesperson Lt. Colonel Amitabh Sharma said that the plane was on a routine training sortie.
The pilot sustained minor injuries and was assisted by the local villagers. He was later taken to a hospital.
“No loss of life has been reported. The debris of the plane, some of it on fire, was scattered in a large area,” said a district official.
The IAF tweeted, “At around 1730 hrs today, an IAF MiG-21 Bison aircraft airborne for a training sortie in the western sector, experienced a technical malfunction after take off. The pilot ejected safely.”
“A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause,” it said.
Sub-inspector Narpat Dan, who reached the spot, said that a thatched house in Dhani caught fire in the incident.
Senior officials of the district administration and police also rushed to the crash site.
Two pilots were killed in separate MiG-21 crashes in March and May in Gwalior (MP) and Moga (Punjab), respectively.
Another MiG-21 Bison fighter plane had crashed at Suratgarh airbase of Sri Ganganagar district in Rajasthan in January, but the pilot survived.
The Soviet-origin Mi-21 Bison is an upgraded version of the MiG-21 aircraft that the IAF began inducting in the 1960s.
The IAF has lost many MiG-21s and other aircraft in accidents in the last few years.
In June 2019, the Ministry of Defence informed Parliament that 27 IAF aircraft have crashed since 2016.
At present, the IAF has around six squadrons of Mig-21 Bisons. A squadron comprises around 18 aircraft.