Two killed as naval aircraft crashes into Hyderabad building

Hyderabad, March 3 (IANS) An Indian Navy trainer aircraft crashed into a two-storied building in a congested locality during an air show here Wednesday, killing the pilot and his co-pilot who found no time to eject.

Commander S.K. Maurya and Lt Commander Rahul Nair were killed when the HJT-16 Kiran Mk2 trainer, built by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, crashed minutes before noon in the Bowenpally locality near the old Begumpet Airport in the heart of the city.

Thousands of people were enjoying the spectacle when disaster struck, sending thick clouds of smoke into the air.

Several people were injured in the building, a part of which was badly damaged. The debris from the car fell on a parked but empty car, crushing it.

‘Both pilots are dead. They did not eject from the plane. Probably there was no time, maybe they tried to ensure that there was no serious damage to civilian area. The fact is they are no more,’ Indian Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma told reporters in Bhopal.

‘Perhaps seven people have been injured in the incident,’ he said, adding that it was premature to say what caused the crash. An inquiry has been ordered.

‘Sagar Pawan is our aerobatics team. It was during the last phase of the display that the aircraft went out of control and crashed into a building. What exactly went wrong, we will have to find out,’ the navy chief said.

The aircraft, part of the aerobatics team that uses four trainers, was unable to pull up from a dive and went into a spiral as the planes were breaking away from the formation and going in different directions.

According to witnesses, the plane had crashed into the mobile phone towers on top of the building. They heard a loud boom, after which the plane went down.

Residents were in a state of shock.

Said Ashok, who was in his house at the time: ‘I was inside the house when I heard a loud noise and I rushed out to see flames.’

Officials in New Delhi said Maurya and Nair — the full names of the pilots were not available — were from a squadron based in Goa. The same team had last flown during the MiG 29 induction ceremony in Goa last month.

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