NEW DELHI : A C-130J Hercules cargo plane crashed Friday in central India killing all five of its crew members, an Air Force spokesman said. The US-made military aircraft came down on the outskirts of Gwalior city in Madhya Pradesh while on a routine flight, group captain Gerard Galway told AFP. “We can confirm that all five crew members have died in the crash,” he said.
In a statement, the defence ministry said the aircraft crashed at 10:00 am local time (0430 GMT) after taking off from the tourist city of Agra, home to the Taj Mahal. An investigation into the accident was underway, the statement added. The accident is the latest in a string of deadly mishaps to have hit the country’s armed forces. The chief of the Indian Navy resigned last month on the day a fire on board a nuclear submarine killed two officers off the Mumbai coast. In one of the deadliest incidents in recent years, INS Sindhurakshak burst into flames in Mumbai harbour last August, killing 18 sailors and sinking the vessel. Friday’s accident involved one of the six heavy-lift military transport aircraft which India acquired from Lockheed Martin for around $1.1 billion in a deal signed four years ago. India had recently deployed one of these aircraft to take part in the search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysian MH370 flight. It was the first crash involving a Hercules aircraft in India, which has been troubled for years by crashes of Russian-made MiG-21 fighter planes.