MiG 29K combat jet crashes after overshooting runway in Goa, pilot safe
Panaji/New Delhi: A MiG 29K combat aircraft of the Indian Navy caught fire after it veered off the runway at Goa airport, the first such incident involving the Russian-manufactured jet, a senior Navy official said.
The trainee pilot managed to eject safely from the aircraft, which crashed inside INS Hansa base while it was trying to take off.
The incident led to operations at the Goa airport being suspended from 12.30 pm to about 1.40 pm.
Goa's Dabolim airport is located inside the naval base.
In a statement, the Navy said in New Delhi that a Board of Inquiry (BoI) had been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident.
"An Indian Navy MiG 29K aircraft operating from Naval Air Station at Goa was involved in an accident on Wednesday. The pilot aborted take-off during a training sortie," it said.
During deceleration, the aircraft veered off the end of the runway and caught fire. The pilot jettisoned the canopy and egressed the aircraft safely, it added.
The Navy said the safety services expeditiously doused the fire.
"The runway at Goa was cleared, and services were restored expeditiously," it said.
"When the pilot was taking off, there was some malfunction in the aircraft which we will have to investigate," Real Admiral Punit K Bahl, Flag Officer Commanding Goa Area (FOGA), said.
Due to the malfunction, the aircraft could not take off.
There were fire and smoke in the aircraft, that was brought under control.
"This is the first main incident of the MiG 29K since the time it was inducted," Bahl said.
"It is too premature to say whether this was human or machine error, because we have to investigate, which will take some time," he added.
According to Goa airport director B C H Negi, the incident happened 10 minutes before a civilian aircraft was scheduled to land.
The Russian-made MiG 29K was inducted into the forces on May 11, 2016, after the decommissioning of the Sea Harriers.
The aircraft is currently integrated onboard aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and performs the role of strike fighter and air defence for the Navy.
Eyewitnesses said the aircraft veered off the runway before it could take off.