Jaisalmer, March 12: A Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) of the Indian Air Force crashed near a residential colony in Jaisalmer on Tuesday during an operational training sortie, the first such incident involving the indigenously-built jet. There were no casualties. The pilot ejected safely and a court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident, the IAF said in a brief statement.

The crash took place around 100 km from the Pokhran desert in Rajasthan where a mega war game 'Bharat Shakti' witnessed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and top military brass was underway. Military sources indicated that the Tejas jet was to be part of the exercise. Jaisalmer Additional Superintendent of Police Mahendra Singh said there was no loss of human life in the crash near Kalla and Jawahar residential colonies. A portion of a hostel building was damaged but there was no one inside at the time, added another police official. IAF Aircraft Crash: Video Shows Tejas Jet Engulfed in Flames After Crashing Near Jaisalmer

Thick black smoke was seen billowing from the single-storey brick structure. Scores of people stood at a distance as the mangled remains of the plane smouldered. "The pilot is safe and no other person was injured in the incident. There were people all around the site of the incident and fortunately all are safe," Jaisalmer MLA Chhotu Singh Bhati, who reached the spot after the incident, told reporters.

An eyewitness said the pilot ejected shortly before the plane crashed. "As soon as the plane hit the ground, there was a loud sound," he told reporters. Fire brigades were rushed to the site and flames were doused. The pilot was taken to a hospital.  Officials said it was the first Tejas jet involved in an accident. "A Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas of the Indian Air Force crashed near Jaisalmer today during an operational training sortie. The pilot ejected safely... A court of inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident," the IAF said in a statement. IAF Aircraft Crash: Tejas Jet Meets With Accident During Training Sortie Near Rajasthan's Jaisalmer, Pilot Ejected Safely (Watch Video)

Tejas Crashes in Jaisalmer

Manufactured by state-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), the Tejas aircraft is a potent platform for air combat and offensive air support missions while reconnaissance and anti-ship operations are its secondary roles. Tejas aircraft are set to be the mainstay of the IAF. It has already inducted nearly 40 Tejas of initial variants. In February 2021, the defence ministry sealed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for the procurement of 83 Tejas MK-1A jets for the IAF. In November last, the ministry accorded an initial approval to procure an additional batch of 97 Tejas jets for the IAF.