An IAF investigation team today visited the site where a recently-acquired C-130J military transport plane, one of the most modern US-made aircraft, had crashed, killing all five crew members including four officers.
"The team visited the site (in Karauli district near Rajasthan-Madhya Pradesh border) to look into facts. The Black Box of the plane has already been recovered," Defence spokesperson Col S D Goswami told PTI.
Col Goswami said a ground force team had been deployed to protect the site and arrangements were being made to remove the debris from the remotely-located spot. "Army teams are also in the area to stop pilferage from the debris," he added.
A Rajasthan Police officer said the IAF team was carrying out investigation and policemen had also been deployed to keep locals away from the site. The aircraft, procured at an estimated cost of Rs 965 crore a piece along with five others for quicker movement of bulk troops, crashed yesterday near the Chambal river during a low-level, tactical training mission an hour after taking off from Agra airbase.
The C-130J planes were acquired to augment IAF's capability to airlift troops closer to the borders in times of emergency. The IAF had recently landed the aircraft at the high-altitude Daulat Beg Oldie air field near China border.
A Court of Inquiry was immediately ordered by the IAF to ascertain the reason of the crash. Air Force chief Arup Raha had promised a thorough inquiry. Those killed in the crash are the aircraft's Captain Wing Commander Prashant Joshi, Wing Commander Raji Nair, Squadron Leader Kaushik Mishra, Squadron Leader Ashish Yadav (Navigator) and Warrant Officer Krishnapal Singh (Flight Engineer), IAF officials had said.