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Navy pilots killed in plane crash at air show

CNN-IBN
Mar 04, 2010 at 08:51am IST

Hyderabad: Two Navy pilots died and two persons were injured when a Navy plane crashed at an international aviation exhibition and hit a building in a residential area near Begumpet airport in Hyderabad.

IANS reports 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.

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Officials tell CNN-IBN the aircraft belonged to the Indian Navy's aerobatic Sagar Pawan team and it crashed into a two-storied building while performing an aerobatic manoeuvre with three other aircraft.

The aircraft, part of the Navy's 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 at different directions.

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The air show began at 11:05 am and 15 minutes into the air show one of the aircraft was seen breaking away.

Witnesses said they heard a loud boom, after which the plane went down. A thick cloud of smoke rose to the sky near the Begumpet airport following the accident.

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.

"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," 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," said Verma.

The crash occurred on the first day of India Aviation 2010, a five-day event from March 3-7, which will feature exhibition, conference on civil aviation industry, CEOs Forum, flying display, customer demonstration flights, static display and media conferences.

Indian Navy spokesman Commander P V Satish confirmed the accident but did not provide details.

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