NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An Indian Air Force cargo plane crashed on Friday, killing its crew of five, in the latest of a string of accidents to spotlight poor safety standards across the country’s armed services.
Last month, India’s navy chief resigned, taking moral responsibility for a series of accidents, on the same day that two officers were killed by smoke in a submarine.
In Friday’s crash, a U.S.-made C-130J Hercules aircraft came down in a desolate area of the central state of Madhya Pradesh while on a routine training mission.
All five crew members on board were killed, Air Force spokesman Capt Gerard Galway said. The defense ministry said it had ordered an investigation into the cause of the accident.
The aircraft, made by Lockheed Martin Corp, was one of six bought for the air force at a cost of $962 million in 2011.
It crashed to the west of the city of Gwalior after taking off at 10 a.m. (0430 GMT) from Agra, home of the famed Taj Mahal monument.
It was the first crash of a Hercules aircraft of the Indian Air Force, which has been plagued for years by the crashes of its Russian-made MiG-21 fighters.
More than half the MiG fleet of 872 aircraft has been lost to crashes that killed 171 pilots, Defense Minister A.K. Antony told parliament in 2012.
Reporting by Sruthi Gottipati; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Clarence Fernandez