March 28, 2014 (by Asif Shamim) - A newly acquired C-130J #KC-3803 belonging to the Indian Air Force has crashed near Gawlior in Madhya Pradesh after taking off from Agra. All five crew members on board have been killed.
Onlookers stand next to the debris of a C-130J #KC-3803 of the Indian Air Force in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. [Courtesy photo]
The crash occurred 72 km or 115 miles west of Gwalior. The plane from 77 Squadron 'Veiled Vipers' was on a routine training mission with another C-130J when the accident occurred, said an air force spokes person to news agencies in India.
Reports suggest it was flying a low level tactical mission when it hit a hill causing it to disintegrate on impact and catch fire on a nearby river bed. Local villagers were first on the scene and recovered several of the bodies
The crew has been identified by the air force as Wing Commander Prashant Joshi (Pilot), Wing Commander Raji Nair (Co-pilot), Squadron Leader Kaushik Mishra (Pilot undergoing training), Squadron Leader Ashish Yadav (Navigator) and Warrant Officer KP Singh (Systems Operator). Joshi is the second-in-command of the ‘Veiled Vipers’.
India had recently inducted six C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, which were bought from the US at the cost of around Rs. 6000 crore ($1.1 billion) four years ago and operated from there new home air station at Hindon in Ghaziabad.
Air Force Chief Arup Raha briefed Defence Minister A K Antony about the crash. Senior officers from the Air Headquarters have been dispatched to the crash site to investigate the cause.
This is the fourth crash involving the C-130J. 2013 a USAF C-130J belly lands in Afghanistan and subsequently is destroyed. March 2012, a Norwegian Air Force C-130 crashed into a mountain & in November 2009 an Italian Air Force C-130J crashed during a routine training sortie.