New MiG veers off Goa runway

Panaji: A MiG29K fighter aircraft veered off the runway on Wednesday before catching fire inside the INS Hansa naval base in Goa. The pilot disembarked safely.

This is the first major mishap involving the recently inducted naval version of the Russian-made MiG29K, a top naval officer said.

"The pilot is safe. When the pilot was taking off, there was some malfunction in the aircraft, which we will have to investigate," Rear Admiral Punit K. Bahl, Flag Officer Commanding Goa Area, said.

Because of the malfunction, the aircraft could not take off. The pilot continued in the direction of the take-off and veered off the runway.

"The pilot crossed over the other end and, luckily the aircraft then retarded and about 150 metres off the edge of the runway, he turned left and stopped," Bahl said.

"After that the pilot descended from the canopy and he came out of the aircraft and there was a little fire and smoke, which is now under control," he added. "This is the first major incident involving the MiG29K since its induction."

The incident happened around noon at the northern end of the runway at the INS Hansa base, which is also home to Goa's Dabolim airport where civilian flights land.

"It is too premature to say whether this was a human or machine error because we have to do investigations, which will take some time," Bahl said.

The incident happened 10 minutes before a civilian aircraft was scheduled to land, Goa airport director B.C.H. Negi said. Operations at the airport were suspended after 12.30pm but resumed around 1.40pm, he added.

The MiG29Ks were inducted on May 11, 2016, after the decommissioning of the Sea Harriers. PTI


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