MiG-21 crashes in Himachal, pilot dead

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Shimla : A MiG-21 fighter jet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) crashed on Wednesday during a test flight in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district, killing its pilot, officials said.

Squadron Leader Meet Kumar had last year featured in a promotional video clip in which he shared his love and passion for the MiG aircraft.

Kangra Superintendent of Police Santosh Patial told IANS that the aircraft crashed in Patta Jatian village in Jawali area, around 70 km from Dharamsala town.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted to confirm and condole the pilot's death. A court of inquiry has been ordered.

"We express deep grief at the martyrdom of a brave air warrior. At 1220 hrs today, a MiG-21 of @IAF_MCC, airborne from Pathankot Airfield for a test, crashed near Pathankot. Our heartfelt condolences to the family of brave pilot Sqadron Leader Meet Kumar, who we lost in the fateful crash," she added.

According to IAF officers, two air force choppers reached the spot and airmen carried out an investigation.

On June 5, an IAF Jaguar fighter jet had crashed in Kutch in Gujarat soon after takeoff, killing the pilot.

In February, IAF Wing Commanders Dushyant Vats, who too had featured in a similar promotional video, had lost his life in a microlight aircraft crash in Assam along with Wing Commander Jai Paul James.