Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha Rajeev Chandrasekhar submitted a Zero Hour request in Parliament to discuss the recent Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jet crash in Bengaluru involving a Mirage-2000 which killed two pilots.
In his request Chandrasekhar called for a “thorough and transparent inquiry into the crash of the HAL upgraded IAF fighter in Bengaluru and consequent loss of life of two brave Air Warriors of the IAF”.
On 1 February, Squadron Leader Siddharth Negi and Squadron Leader Sameer Abrol were killed when the Mirage they were in crashed before it could be off the ground for a training sortie at HAL’s runway in Yemalur.
Both pilots ejected from the fighter but got engulfed in the flames when the aircraft exploded. The aircraft was upgraded by the state-run HAL.
Expressing grief at the loss of the pilots, Chandrasekhar had in a tweet said on 1 February said that he will follow up with the HAL on the matter.
I feel terribly sad n angry at this loss !
Talented committed brave airwarriors lost forever ! 🙏🏻
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@rajeev_mp) February 1, 2019
In a tweet posted on 2 February, Chandrasekhar quoted his sources telling him that the Mirage-2000 crashed when one of its wheels came off during take-off which took the aircraft off the runway. He added that he will ensure legal support for the families of the deceased pilots if they see accountability from the defence PSU.
“My sources say Aircrft was on 2nd acceptnce air test aftr upgrade. One oleo (wheel) came off durng takeoff n it veered off runway. Pilots ejected both parachutes caught fire in the debris of a/c. If families wnt accoutblty frm HAL – wll ensure legal spprt for thm,” he wrote.
My sources say Aircrft was on 2nd acceptnce air test aftr upgrade. One oleo (wheel) came off durng takeoff n it veered off runway. Pilots ejected both parachutes caught fire in the debris of a/c
— Rajeev Chandrasekhar 🇮🇳 (@rajeev_mp) February 2, 2019
On 2 February, the Defence Ministry said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) and HAL will conduct a joint probe into the crash.
Originally built by French defence maker Dassault, the aircraft is part of IAF’s frontline fighter fleet, which also includes Sukhoi Su30-MKI, and undergoes upgrades at HAL.
It is equipped with ‘zero speed, zero altitude’ ejection seats, which allow the pilots to eject even if the aircraft is on the ground and is not moving.