Four months after crash, Mirage pilot’s family awaits probe findings
New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) It has been four months since a Mirage 2000 fighter crashed in Bengaluru but the family of one of the two pilots killed in the incident still awaits closure as the Indian Air Force (IAF) is yet to share findings of the court of inquiry to ascertain the cause of accident.
Squadron Leaders Samir Abrol and Siddhartha Negi were killed after the Mirage-2000, upgraded at the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), crashed on the runway of the state-run aircraft-maker’s facility in the heart of Bengaluru.
Sushant, brother of Samir Abrol, told IANS that the IAF had promised to share the findings of the probe but there has been no word till now. "It has been more than four months and we are still waiting to know what happened and whose fault was it," he said.
"We were told that the inquiry report will come within two to three months and the same would be shared, but even after four months, we are clueless as to what happened on the day that claimed my brother’s life," he said, adding that he had hopes from new Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
"When a train accident happens, we ask for the resignation of the Railway Minister, when a student dies in a school, we demand the principal quit… so why not in this case. There have been so many aircraft crashes why is there no responsibility?" asked Sushant, whose poignant tweet on the state of the system had gone viral.
"Bureaucracy enjoys cheese and wine, warriors get outdated machines," he had posted while flying back home with his brother’s coffin.
On the family’s state, he said: "We know everything will not become normal. We just want that the Defence Ministry completes the inquiry and let us know what happened and close it forever.
"Some IAF officials have been telling us that the design was the issue and there was some technical glitches while some even said that HAL was responsible. We just want to know why the crash took place that killed my brother and another pilot," he said.
Asked whether he tried to reach out to the new Defence Minister after the Narendra Modi government was sworn in for its second term, Sushant said that he had tweeted in this regard.
"Congratulations @nsitharaman ma’am for your new assignment. I wish you a successful tenure under @narendramodi and hope you fulfill all your promises and commitments unlike in our case where we never heard back from you. @rajnathsingh sir i hope we can trust you for justice," he tweeted on June 1, expressing his displeasure with previous Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman who is now the Finance Minister.
Sushant was sceptical about the inquiry into the recent crash of an An-32 transport aircraft. "When a young and brave life is cut short, just come and see what the family undergoes," he said.
The going has been tough for families of IAF personnel in recent months following a series of accidents. The findings of the probe into the crash of a Mi-17 helicopter near Srinagar on February 27, killing six personnel on board, are yet to be known even though preliminary reports suggest it was shot down by IAF’s own air defence missile.
It is still early days for investigations into the crash of an An-32 transport plane in Arunachal Pradesh killing all 13 personnel onboard.