Indian Air Force jet crashes, pilot ejects safely

New Delhi - An Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-29 fighter jet crashed
in the western state of Gujarat on Monday but the pilot managed to
eject safely, officials said.

"The aircraft had taken off from the Jamnagar airbase for a
training sortie but the pilot lost control and it crashed," IAF
spokesman Mahesh Upasani told reporters in New Delhi.

"The pilot, managed to eject safely," he added. The Jamnagar base is located 280 kilometres west of state capital Gandhinagar.

There were no reports of any casualties or damage to property on
the ground at the crash site, about 50 kilometres away from the
airbase. The pilot was moved to an Air Force hospital for treatment.

It was the sixth aircraft the IAF has lost in 2008, and the fourth
involving the aging fleet of Russian-made MiGs, which constitute nearly
70 per cent of India's fleet.

Earlier this year, India signed a 960-million-dollar contract with
Russia for the upgrade of five squadrons of the MiG-29 aircraft that
were acquired by the IAF in the 1980s.

Of the 794 MiG-series aircraft used by the IAF since 1963, more
than 330 have been lost in accidents, according to the Defence
Ministry. dpa