aircraft crashed in Balaghat district of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday afternoon, killing both
— captain Mohit Thakur from Himachal Pradesh and V Maheshwari, a trainee from Gujarat.
The plane, a Diamond DA-40, operated by the
National Flying Training Institute
), had taken off from Birsi airport in Gondia district of Maharashtra, and crashed approximately 40km away in a dense forest in Balaghat.
The cause of the
is yet unknown. Video footage of the site near Bhakkutola village in Kirnapur region (500km from Bhopal) shows villagers standing around a charred body and smouldering wreckage.
The four-seater plane crashed around 3.20pm, 15 minutes after taking off from the Birsi airstrip. The wreckage was found in a 100ft-deep gorge. Police and rescuers had a hard time reaching the crash site, having to cover the last 7km on foot through hilly terrain and dense jungles.
The SP of Gondia district of Maharashtra, a medical team and Hawk Force jawans from
set off for the crash site.
This is the third plane crash in MP this year — on January 6, a training plane hit a temple and crashed, killing the pilot and injuring the trainee, and on January 22, a Mirage-2000 and a Sukhoi-30 collided mid-air during a training exercise and crashed, killing one of the three pilots.
This is not the first accident involving NFTI. In 2017, a flying instructor and a trainee female co-pilot were killed after their aircraft crashed in Vainganga River bordering Gondia district of Maharashtra and MP’s Balaghat district. The victims were flight instructor Captain Rajan Gupta (35) and trainee Himani Kalyani (24) from Delhi. The aircraft had crashed after hitting a ropeway wire on Vainganga River. The four-seater Diamond 42 or DA42-VI aircraft had apparently hit the cable of a ropeway used by a construction company. The aircraft had broken into three and an oil spill was visible in the river.