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Tuesday, 1 October, 2002, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
India navy planes collide in mid-air
Tail section of one of the two aircraft
The collision took place close to an airbase in Goa
Two Indian navy planes have collided in mid-air in the western state of Goa, killing several people.

The two Russian-made planes, IL-38 transport aircraft, were flying in formation during practice for anniversary celebrations for their squadron.

One of the planes crashed to the ground and the other into a building construction site, officials said.

All 12 crew members - six on each aircraft - are believed to have died, and as many as three on the ground.

At least one person is reported to have died and several were injured at the construction site.

"Most of the dead are the plane's crew members, but some labourers may have also been killed when they were hit by a falling plane," senior police official Pradeep Srivastava said.

The general inspector of police in Goa, Karnal Singh, told the Associated Press news agency that the planes' wings collided before the accident.

The crash occurred about one mile (1.6 kilometres) east of the Vasco naval base in the southern part of Goa.

Emergency operation

Police sources said they were still trying to reach one person trapped in the building under construction.

The two planes took off from the main airport in the state capital, Panaji, and hit each other at about 1000 local time (0430 GMT).

Officials have shut the Panaji airport and all flights too and from the terminals have been delayed, local news reports said.

An official said that the planes involved in the collision were not connected with the US-India naval exercises currently taking place in the Indian Ocean.

It appears that the planes were practicing for celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the 315 Air Squadron in Goa.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Sanjeev Srivastava
"The Ministry of Defence has ordered an inquiry"
Karnal Singh, Deputy Inspector, Goa Police
"At the moment we are suspecting that one or two people are under the debris"
See also:

27 Sep 02 | South Asia
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