Squadron Leader Siddharth Negi (Left) and Squadron Leader Samir Abrol.
“Before an aircraft goes to the IAF, its standards are good enough for me to bet my life on it.”
“Remember, every pilot in the IAF is also betting his life on my judgement.”
Strong words from a senior Hindustan Aeronautics Limited test pilot who flew and handed over the very same Mirage 2000 fighter that crashed on its take-off run on Friday in Bengaluru.
Two young Indian Air Force pilots, Squadron Leader Samir Abrol and Squadron Leader Siddhartha Negi were killed in the crash even though they had been able to eject as the French-designed jet careened down the runway, broke through a barrier and a wall before exploding at about 10:25 am that morning.
The officer, who NDTV reached out to, does not want to be identified since the investigations are still on.
“I was eye witness to the accident. Also part of the bunch of guys who reached the crash site first. Was impressed by some HAL civilians risking their lives to pull out the pilot from the burning wreckage. Unfortunately, he had not survived the impact. The other pilot had fallen clear of the wreckage. When we reached him, he was still breathing, but…