Two IAF Pilots Saved Thousands In Bengaluru Before Losing Life In Crash
Two young Squadron Leaders Siddharth Negi and Samir Abrol serving the Indian Air Force (IAF) died in an unfortunate crash in Bengaluru as their upgraded Mirage 2000 caught fire during takeoff. No amount of condolences or appreciation for their bravery will console their families who will spend many a sleepless nights carrying the weight of this irreparable loss. But we thank the bravehearts for averting a huge tragedy and saving thousands of people from an early grave.
As per a Deccan Herald report, an IAF personnel, who preferred to stay anonymous, and the locals who rushed to the spot were clear about one thing - the pilots saved a thousand lives. They ejected before the flight could gain more alleviation thus saving the aircraft from crashing in densely populated areas.
In August 2013, Samir had wrote on Facebook: When the airplane makes a sudden noise, you think to yourself “well, I lived a good life.”
Barely 500 metres away, along the flight path lay the thickly populated Manjunatha Layout with the Trinity English High School, the Kaveri Gnana Mithra School and the MVJ International School in close proximity. Just ahead was the Outer Ring Road, flanked by thousands of households in Chandra Layout and Rajashree Layout, reported DH.
High population density areas around school and tech park were buzzing with traffic and rush at the time of the accident. (Image by DH)
According to Quint, the aircraft was on a test flight in ‘heavy’ configuration with drop tanks. Soon after unstick (high speed, when the aircraft lifts off from the runway), there has been some event which forced the aircraft back onto the runway. There is no such thing as a safe ‘Reject Takeoff’ after unstick. So the testing pilots must have had to make split-second decisions – something crew of that Mirage were well trained to do.
The main landing gear reportedly collapsed on impact and the aircraft careened on the runway till it tore through the arrester barrier at other end of the runway. As per reports, the aircraft skidded on its belly/drop-tanks, maintaining almost centreline alignment till barrier engagement at the opposite dumbell. This is not surprising. Test pilots don’t earn their graduation badges easy. They are top-of-the-game aviators. Samir and Siddharth were just seven months into their TP career.
The had more than adequate experience and apex skills that differentiate boys from men.
An eyewitness to the entire episode, the IAF personnel had seen the aircraft’s tyre wobble and come off, its metal edge hitting the runway at high speed. Seconds before take-off, the friction had sparked a fire that quickly engulfed the aircraft. Sensing big trouble, the two pilots had to be quick, real fast, said DH.
We salute the Squadron Leaders for saving thousands from a fate that they took upon themselves and extend strength to their families in these testing times.