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07:51 AM, February 1, 2019
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HAL-Upgraded Mirage 2000 Jet Trainer Crashes In India, Two Pilots Dead
Mirage 2000 (image: Twitter)

A Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter of the Indian Air Force crashed Friday morning near HAL Airport in Bangalore, India.

The two pilots inside the jet ejected before the crash. One pilot died as he landed on the wreckage after ejecting, while the second pilot died in an operation theatre, HT reported.

The HAL-upgraded jet was going through second acceptance trials. According to the HAL police, the aircraft was on a test sortie. Three helicopters and two fire engines rushed to the spot within minutes of the crash.

The Mirage 2000 is equipped with 'zero-zero' (zero speed, zero altitude) ejection seats which enable the pilots to bail out even if the aircraft is on the ground and is not moving. It is unclear at what stage of the take-off run the fighter was in when the pilots decided to eject, NDTV report stated.

HAL tweeted, "A Mirage-2000 aircraft crashed at HAL Airport during a sortie today at around 10:30 am. Both pilots ejected. Further details are awaited.”

"The pilots were out for a general training session. Mirage 2000 is a training aircraft. The aircraft did not take off properly and crashed into the blockade near the runway. Both pilots ejected but their parachutes, too, caught fire. One pilot died. One is critical and undergoing treatment at command hospital. The cause for the malfunction is yet to be determined, and an investigation is underway, they added,” HAL sources told TNM.

The crash comes barely four days after Jaguar fighter plane crashed on January 28 in Northern India.

The Mirage 2000 upgrade programme was launched at HAL in 2015. The IAF had sought upgradation of 49 jets. Dassault had delivered two aircraft and HAL was tasked with upgrading the rest of them.

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