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IAF chopper crashes in Assam’s Majuli island, 2 pilots dead

“The pilots attempted an emergency landing but the aircraft crashed in a sand bar in the northern part of the district and went up in flames.”

Two IAF pilots were killed Friday in Majauli river island in Assam shortly after thier microlight aircraft took off on a routine sortie, defence ministry officials said.

Officials said the aircraft crashed in the river island around noon, soon after taking off from the Jorhat air base.  The pilots killed in the crash were Wing Commander J James and Wing Commander D Vats.

“An Indian Air Force Microlight Virus SW-80 crashed around 1200 hrs today, after getting airborne from Air Force Station Jorhat, for a routine sortie,” the defence ministry said in a statement in New Delhi.

The ministry said a court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident.

The pilots attempted an emergency landing but the aircraft crashed in a sand bar in the northern part of the district and went up in flames, Tezpur-based defence spokesperson Lt. Col. Harshvardhan Pande told Press Trust of India.

The two-seater aircraft, one of the many small planes that the Indian Air Force maintains, is suspected to have developed a technical fault, according to the report.

Lt Colonel Pande said the pilots attempted an emergency landing but the aircraft crashed at Darbar Chapori, a sand bar in the Brahmaputra in the northern part of Majuli district and went up in flames.

Villagers in the sparsely populated district told authorities that they had seen the aircraft go up in flames. Air Force teams from the Jorhat air force station and senior district officials rushed to the crash site which has to be reached by boat.

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