An IAF Pilot was killed in a MiG-21 crash in Punjab’s Moga district in the early morning hours of Friday, May 21. The crash on Thursday marks the third MiG crash in 5 months of 2021. The deceased pilot is identified as MCC Squadron leader Abhinav Chaudharay. Earlier in march an IAF group captain was killed in a MiG-21 Bison in Central India airbase.


In the wee hours of Friday morning, the IAF officials and local authorities rushed from Bathinda and Halwara airbase and reached Moga district after the incident was reported. While the remains of the fighter jet were scattered and ablaze, it took the authorities almost 4 hours of search to finally find the deceased captain’s body.

Also read: IAF group captain killed after MiG-21 Bison meets with “fatal accident”


Pilot’s spine and neck broke; body found 2-km away

According to the IAF, the pilot’s body was found nearly 2-km away from the crash site. The local police meanwhile said that no houses, structures or civilians from the village were harmed as a consequence of the crash.

Gurdeep Singh, Moga Superintendent of Police was quoted by a news platform saying-

“Pilot was @IAF_MCC Squadron leader Abhinav Chaudhary. His body was found 2-km away from the crash spot after a search of 4 hours. The parachute was found open and SOS was also sent from his device but he had died by then. He tried to land safely using a parachute but apparently broke his neck and spinal cord. IAF officials from Bathinda and Halwara had reached the spot and at around 3 am body was recovered.”

Sigh also said that the MiG-21 had taken off from the Suratgarh airbase to the Jagraon airbase for night training. The jet aircraft was making its return back from Jagraon when it crashed in Moga.

Fighter jet crashed into open area, no other loss of lives or structure

The Moga SP also said that fortunately, no harms of lives or other kind of losses were reported. As the fighter jet crashed into open area, no lives were reported, said the police chief. He also said that it was unfortunate that the authorities could not save the pilot.

Earlier, the locals of the village called the police after they mistakenly considered the crash sound as the sound of a blast. After the phone call was made, the police team was rushed to the spot.

IAF Takes to Twitter to Condole Death

Meanwhile, the IAF took to Twitter to express its condolence and share the news. In its tweet, the IAF also confirmed that a court of inquiry would be set up to understand as to what the cause of crash was.

“There was an aircraft accident last night involving a Bison aircraft of IAF in the western sector. The pilot, Sqn Ldr Abhinav Choudhary, sustained fatal injuries. IAF condoles the tragic loss and stands firmly with the bereaved family. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident,” wrote the IAF.

The Tainted History of MiG-21s

It should be noted that earlier this year in March, a MiG-21 Bison fighter jet had crashed in Central India which led to the death of the fighter pilot. The pilot was identified as Group Captain Ashish Gupta who was serving at the Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishments, Gwalior.

Often known as ‘the flying coffins’, the MiG-21 aircrafts have had a history that’s written in the red of blood given the number of crashes and the loss of highly talented IAF pilots. In the last 60 years, over 400 MiG-21s have involved in different kind of crash accidents which has led to the deaths of over 200 pilots.

While the fighter jet’s phasing out was supposed to initiate by 2022, the IAF still has 4 squadrons of the aircraft. Add to that the delay in the Tejas programme which would give the IAF new Tejas aircrafts that are meant to replace the MiGs and it looks like the phasing out may take longer than anticipated.