IAF Mirage 2000 fighter jet crash at HAL airport, Bengaluru
IAF Mirage 2000 fighter jet crash at HAL airport, Bengalurutwitter

The Indian Air force lost two of its finest Pilots earlier this week in an unfortunate crash which took place in Bengaluru. The young pilots -- Squadron Leader, Samir Abrol and Squadron Leader, Siddhartha Negi -- were the testing pilots of the upgraded version of French Mirage-2000 which was carried out by state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Continuing the tradition of highest sacrifice for the country, the duo pilots' quick decision to eject just after the takeoff saved thousands of lives in Bengaluru. On the edge of the HAL runway, it was a question of life and death for the two young pilots. They had microseconds to decide whether to fly an aircraft on fire or eject out dangerously. Had the pilots decided to take off and eject at a higher altitude, the flight would have gained considerable height making a potential disaster for the thickly populated area just ahead of the runway.

Speaking to English daily, Deccan Herald, an Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel requesting anonymity said that he saw the aircraft's tyre wobble and come off hitting the runway at high speed.

Moments before the take-off, the friction ignited a fire that engulfed the entire aircraft. By now the pilots had realized that they were in trouble and had to quickly take a decision. Before ejecting and aborting the take-off, the pilots contacted the Air Traffic Control (ATC).

Road runways
India to prepare dual use road runways. [Representational Image] In-picture: A Mirage-2000 fighter jet takes off from the closed-off section of the Sun Yat-sen freeway at Chang-hua county in central Taiwan, about 200 km (124 miles) south of Taipei 15 May 2007.Reuters

But soon after the ejection, amid thick smokes and soaring flame, the parachutes caught fire. The pilots descended quickly but unfortunately, one of them fell dangerously close to the wreckage. The other pilot, however, dodged fire but not completely. Reports have not specified whether it was Squadron leader Negi or Abrol. The other pilot was admitted to the hospital in a  critical condition but later succumbed to his injuries.

The quick decision made by the pilots averted a major disaster, as just outside the Eastern end of the airport wall, the Kariyammana Agrahara Road was situated which leads to a tech park and Yemalur village beyond was packed with peak-hour traffic.

The old airport road and the crowded Marathahalli area is also situated in close proximity. Moreover, just 500 meters along the flight path, the thickly populated Manjunatha Layout with Trinity English High School, the Kaveri Gnana Mithra School and the MVJ International School is located.