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1 IAF pilot dies as a Sukhoi-30 and a Mirage 2000 crash in Morena in Madhya Pradesh, parts of the wreckage fell in Bharatpur in Rajasthan

At 5:30 in the morning, Sukhoi Su-30 and Mirage 2000 fighter jets from the Indian Air Force crashed near Morena in Madhya Pradesh while participating in a training exercise. Parts of wreckage fell in Bharatpur in Rajasthan, creating confusion of a third crash

In one of the most worse tragedies involving Indian Air Force planes, two fighter jets crashed on Saturday during an exercise. At 5:30 in the morning, a Sukhoi Su-30 and a Mirage 2000 fighter jet from the Indian Air Force crashed near Morena in Madhya Pradesh while participating in a training exercise, officials announced on Saturday.

While there were reports of a third crash at Bharatpur in Rajasthan, now it has been confirmed that parts of the same planes that crashed in Morena fell in Bharatpur.

Defence sources reported that the Sukhoi Su-30 had two pilots while the Mirage 2000 only had one. According to Indian Air Force, two pilots who were able to evacuate are safe while one succumbed to his injuries. The survivors were taken to a hospital.

Initial reports indicated that the planes were training for a bombing exercise and they took off from the Gwalior air base. A court of inquiry will determine the accident’s precise cause. Reportedly, the two aircraft collided mid-air and then crashed to the ground. However, it was not head-on collision, the wings of the planes touched reached other.

SP Morena also provided information about the collision.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, said he has directed the local government to coordinate with the air force to conduct swift rescue and relief operations.

The administration immediately initiated an investigation to see whether the two accidents were related after hearing about the collision and the wreckage discovered at both locations. To determine whether the wreckage discovered in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur is related to the planes that crashed in MP’s Morena, an IAF also travelled there.

Defence sources reported that IAF chief Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari briefed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the two aircraft’s crash. They stated that the defence minister is closely observing the developments.

Along with the crashes in Morena, another crash was also reported from Bharatpur in Rajasthan at the same time. The local administration had said the crashed jet was a chartered aircraft. However, later the IAF officials said that it was also an IAF aircraft.

But there was confusion over the type of aircraft that crashed in Bharatpur. From earlier reported as a chartered plane, later it was said that it was an IAF helicopter.

Bharatpur Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) who was on the spot stated that the plane was an Indian Airforce Force (IAF) fighter jet. “We can’t tell whether it’s a fighter plane or a conventional plane based on the wreckage. We are still unsure whether the pilot got out or is still inside (the plane)”, he had said.

“Prima facie it’s difficult to say whether it’s a defence fighter plane or helicopter as the intensity of the fire was so high that it crashed into air,” said Bharatpur Superintendent of Police (SP) Shyam Singh later in an interview with India Today.

The SP stated that the plane’s pilot had ejected, and searches are currently being conducted to locate him. “I have reached the spot. Officials from the defence unit are here. We are making the effort to trace the pilot,” added the SP.

However, the confusion was cleared later in the day, as it was revealed that there was no third crash. The authorities have said that the wreckage of two planes also fell in Bharatpur in Rajasthan, which is not very dar from Morena in Madhya Pradesh.

Morena Collector Ankit Asthana has confirmed that the wreckage found in Bharatpur is not from a separate crash. It has been speculated that after the collision with the Mirage 2000 over Morena, the pilots of the Sukhoi were able to stabilise the plane for some moments and they flew for some distance before ejecting, and therefore the wreckage of the Sukhoi Su-30 fell in Bharatpur.

Note: This report has been updated with relevant details

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