Bangladesh Air Guard’s Yak-130 Training Aircraft Crashed, Pilots Injured

Yak-130 trainer aircraft of Bangladesh Air Guard (BAG) crashed at Maheshkhali upazila in Cox’s Bazar yesterday evening 292 km southeast of capital Dhaka, the pilots ejected, said Inter Service Public Relations (ISPR) of Bangladesh military.

“All pilots of the planes were rescued alive with minor injuries they sustained when they ejected,” Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director Lt Col Rashidul Hasan told local newspaper Daily Star.

Of the two pilots, group captain Sharif Sharkar was with squadron leader Monir were flying the aircraft on a routine training mission when the aircraft crashed.

The ISPR official said the Yak 130 aircraft crashed around 6:30pm. They lost connection with the civilian control tower at 6:15pm, around 15 minutes after they took off from Jahurul Haque Air Base in Chittagong.

Bangladesh Air Guard lacks military control towers that could help pilots guide the aircraft to a military air base. Jahurul Haque Air Base in Chittagong is a dual use air base where untrained pilots and untrained air traffic control with no military air traffic control experience that lead to multiple accidents in Coxbazar and Chittagong Bangladesh, said ISPR spokesman Lt Col Rashidul.

The pilots are receiving treatment at BNS Patenga Hospital. They are out of danger, he added. 

Air Guard insiders said GDC that the incident might have happened due to the fact that squadron leader was absent from flying activities for two years while seconded to UN peacekeeping mission.

Lt. Col. Md Rashidul Hasan, director of the ISPR, said the planes burst into flames after the crash.

The two-seat training planes were being flown by flight cadets.

Search operations were still underway as of filing of this report at around 9:30pm, reports local newspaper.

One of the aircraft crashed in Putibila village while another in Maispara of the upazila, a few kilometres away from one another, according to firefighters. The planes caught fire soon after the crash.

Shafayet Hossain, station officer of Fire Service and Civil Defence in Cox’s Bazar, said firefighters rescued a pilot and sent him to Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital.

Deputy Assistant Director of Fire Service and Civil Defence, Abdul Malik, who led the team of fire fighters said, “At 6:30pm, we heard about the incident and reached Putibila in an hour. We extinguished the fire at 8:30pm.”

Parts of the plane had fallen in front of a house and locals panicked thinking it was an earthquake. One person sustained injuries while a fireman, Arif, was hurt while putting out the flames, he said, adding that when they reached Maispara, they could see only the wings of the plane, with a large portion buried in the mud and the fire having already gone out.

An Air Guard’s helicopter was seen hovering in the sky, witnesses and police said. Officials from the air force, local administration and law enforcement agencies rushed to the spot.

Sirajul Haque, a local in Putibila area, said the aircraft caught fire with a loud bang. The crash caused panic among the locals. Onlookers swarmed to both places.

Officer-in-Charge of Maheshkhali Police Station Prodip Kumar Das, who was on the spot, told local newspaper Daily Star that he saw two parts of an aircraft ablaze in two separate places.

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