India sends back Bangladesh Air Force pilot

New Delhi: In a goodwill gesture, India today flew back the Bangladeshi Air Force (BAF) trainee pilot who landed his trainer aircraft on the Indian side of the border after it was trapped in bad weather on Wednesday evening.

Flight Cadet Rasheed Sheikh of the BAF was flown back to Dhaka today evening from Kolkata in an AN-32 transport aircraft, Sqn Ldr Priya Joshi, IAF spokesperson, said here.

Rasheed had taken off from Bangladesh Air Force Academy, based in Jessore, for a routine training sortie on a PT-6 trainer aircraft. "The plane was caught in bad weather and the pilot had to force-land his plane on the Indian side in a paddy field 60 kilometers from the Indo-Bangladesh border in Murshidabad district`s Salar village," the officials said.

Soon he was picked in an IAF chopper and taken for a preliminary medical check up at the Kolkata`s Command Hospital as he had sustained minor injuries and bruises due to the impact of the force-landing, Joshi added.

The incident was reported first by the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel who had seen the plane drifting towards the Indian side. They were also informed by their counterparts in Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

The BAF trainee pilot of the PT6 2-seater was caught in a storm after straying into Indian airspace and made the emergency landing at Raigram village near Salar yesterday and the pilot had stayed at the circuit house on Wednesday night, Murshidabad District Magistrate Rajeev Kumar said.

He was safe and in good health, the DM said. Kumar said Ali was the only occupant of the aircraft. According to earlier reports, there were two people in the plane. He said the plane was still at the spot where it landed and would be removed later.