According to information just received from the Indian government's press information bureau, entitled "Crash of MiG Aircraft" a rather worrying total of 49 MiG aircraft have been lost between 1999 and the end of February 2002. Yes, that's right...49. Even more worryingly, 27 of these were fatal. Of the total, 22 crashes (actually involving 24 aircraft as two incidents were mid-air collisions) were attributed to human error by the crew, 17 to technical defects, one to human error by someone on the ground, five to bird strikes and two remain a mystery. The statement adds, apparently almost as an afterthought, that "a total of eight trainer aircraft have crashed during the above period and an amount of Rs7.88 crore [$1.6 million] (approximately) has been lost". Oh, and one more observation. The press release starts with possibly one of the greatest understatements of recent times: "A few MiG aircraft have been lost in air crashes."

Source: Flight International