Surya Kiran not to participate in Aero India 2019 after fatal accident; IAF conducts 'missing man' flypast to honour deceased pilot

Indian Air Force's Surya Kiran aerobatic team will sit out the prestigious Aero India event, currently underway in Bengaluru, after Tuesday's crash which killed Wing Commander Sahil Gandhi left two others injured. However, the IAF teams flew the Jaguar, Tejas and Sukhoi 30 aircraft in the 'missing man' formation in memory of the deceased Wing Commander, The Quint reported.

The 'missing man' formation is an aerial salute to honour a pilot who has died in the line of duty or a fallen veteran or political figure. In this formation, the position of one aircraft is left vacant to honour the deceased.

Surya Kiran not to participate in Aero India 2019 after fatal accident; IAF conducts missing man flypast to honour deceased pilot

Two IAF Surya Kiran jets crashed mid air on Tuesday during a practice run for the Aero India 2019 in Bengaluru. ANI

The crash occurred a little berfore 12 pm on Tuesday when the Hawk jets were performing a manoeuvre, while practising for the air show, the Defence PRO office said in a statement. One of the aircraft was flying inverted, carrying a pilot, and the other was airborne just underneath with two pilots onboard. The two jets hit each other and spun out of control, according to police and eyewitnesses. However, the precise details of the accident will be known after due investigation.

One of the three aircrews on the two aircraft, Wing Commander VT Shelke and Squadron Leader TJ Singh ejected. However, Wing Commander Gandhi sustained fatal injuries, it said.

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

"We had an unfortunate incident and an investigation will take place. Surya Kiran won't be part of the display," Bhadauria told reporters in Bengaluru. All other displays will go ahead as planned, he added.

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 the planes, will be found out in the investigation,". Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said she would react after getting the details.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Feb 20, 2019 11:43:37 IST

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