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2 IAF pilots die as MiG trainer aircraft goes up in flames over Rajasthan

The jet was on a night training sortie when the accident took place in Barmer late on Thursday night. The Russia-made MiG-21 has a poor safety record, having met with a series of accidents in the recent past.

JAIPUR, July 28: Two Indian Air Force pilots were killed when their trainer aircraft crashed in Barmer in Rajasthan on Thursday evening. The MiG-21 jet was on a night training sortie when the accident took place. It burst into flames mid-air before crashing to the ground.

"A twin-seater MiGg-21 trainer aircraft of the IAF was airborne for a training sortie from Utarlai air base in Rajasthan this evening. Around 9:10 pm, the aircraft met with an accident near Barmer. Both pilots sustained fatal injuries. IAF deeply regrets the loss of lives and stands firmly with the bereaved families," the Air Force said in a statement.

A court of inquiry has been ordered into the accident. The MiG-21 was a twin-seater Soviet-made single-engine 1 trainer aircraft.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari following the crash.

"Deeply anguished by the loss of two Air Warriors due to an accident of IAF's Mig-21 trainer aircraft near Barmer in Rajasthan," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh posted on Twitter.

The MiG-21, with a poor safety record, has been involved in several accidents in the past. The IAF has over 70 MiG 21 jets which are likely to be phased out in a couple of years.

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