Aircraft crash in India kills captain and trainee pilot
An aircraft crashed in Balaghat district of Indian state of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday, killing both pilots - captain Mohit Thakur from Himachal and V Maheshwari, a trainee from Gujarat.
The plane, a Diamond DA-40, operated by the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, commonly called IGRUA, had taken off from Birsi Airport in Maharashtra's Gondia, and crashed 40km away in a dense forest in Balaghat.
The cause of the crash is yet unknown. Video footage of the site near Bhakkutola village in Kirnapur region (500km from Bhopal) shows villagers standing around a charred body and smouldering wreckage.
The four-seater plane crashed around 3.20pm, 15 minutes after taking off from the Birsi airstrip. The wreckage was found in a 100ft-deep gorge. Police and rescuers had a hard time reaching the crash site, having to cover the last 7km on foot through hilly terrain and dense jungles.
The SP of Gondia district of Maharashtra, a medical team and Hawk Force jawans from MP set off for the crash site. This is the third plane crash in MP this year - on January 6, a training plane hit a temple and crashed, killing the pilot and injuring the trainee, and on January 22, a Mirage-2000 and a Sukhoi-30 collided mid-air during a training exercise and crashed, killing one of the three pilots.
This is not the first accident in Balaghat. In 2017, a flying instructor and a trainee female co-pilot of National Flying Training Academy were killed after their aircraft crashed in Vainganga River bordering Gondia district of Maharashtra and MP's Balaghat district. The victims were flight instructor Captain Rajan Gupta (35) and trainee Himani Kalyani (24) from Delhi.