Balaghat (MP)/Gondia, Mar 18: A trainer aircraft crashed on Saturday in the hilly region of Madhya Pradesh's Naxalite-affected Balaghat district and caught fire, killing the flight instructor and the woman trainee pilot, officials said.

The aircraft belonged to the IGRAU (Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi) which was on a training sortie, and prima facie bad weather caused the crash, said an official from Gondia in neighbouring Maharashtra.

Balaghat Superintendent of Police Sameer Saurabh said two badly burnt bodies were recovered from the spot which falls under the Lanji police station.

He said the charred body of a man (believed to be that of pilot Mohit Thakur's) was found on the hills of Lanji and Kirnapur areas, about 40 km from the Balaghat district headquarters, near the site of the crash.

"We received information at around 3:45 pm (about the crash). As the area falls under the Naxalite-infested belt, security forces were summoned. Other personnel reached the spot after the area was cordoned off. We have recovered the bodies of the flight instructor and the woman pilot which are badly burnt. The spot comes under the Lanji police station", Saurabh added.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Anurag Sharma told PTI the trainer aircraft took off from the Birsi airstrip in Gondia district bordering Balaghat at 3.06 pm. It lost connection with the Air Traffic Control (ATC) at 3.11 pm.

"It is widely believed that the charred body was that of pilot Mohit Thakur's (around 25 years)," he said and added the woman trainee pilot, Vrikshanka Maheshwari, (around 20 years) is missing.

"Prima facie, both of them perished in the crash," he added.

The trainer aircraft belongs to IGRAU (Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi). It crashed at the hills near Bhukkutola village in Balaghat district at around 3:30 pm, killing a flight training captain and a female trainee, IGRAU Administrative Officer Satya Kumar told PTI in Gondia.

"The trainer aircraft with flight instructor captain Mohit took off from the Birsi airport on a routine sortie at around 3 PM. It reportedly crashed due to bad weather in the hills near Bhukkutola village," he said.

"The aircraft caught fire in which bodies of captain Mohit and the trainee pilot were badly mutilated. After getting the information, a fire-fighting team and a rescue team from Birsi along with other officials concerned rushed to the spot," he added.

The wreckage of the aircraft was traced on the hills, Kumar said, adding villagers were first to reach the spot.

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Bengaluru (PTI): The Karnataka government on Monday approved 18 projects with a total investment of over Rs 75,000 crore, including a proposal by tech giant Apple's contract manufacturer Foxconn for Rs 8,000 crore.

Among the 18 projects that were approved by the State High-Level Clearance Committee under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, 10 are new, five are expansion projects, and three are additional projects with all the investment proposals expected to provide employment opportunities for 77,606 people.

Investment projects worth Rs 75,393.57 crore are expected to further push industrial growth and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities in Karnataka, an official release said.

Foxconn Hon Hai Technology India Mega Development Private Limited (FHH) would invest Rs 8,000 crore with employment opportunities for 50,000 people, it said.

A delegation led by Foxconn CEO and Chairman Young Liu had visited the state and held a meeting with Chief Minister Bommai a fortnight ago in Bengaluru.

"We are happy that the state has received such a huge investment. The proposals for green hydrogen, ethanol production, wind energy power plant, electrical and electronic items assembling, lithium batteries and electric vehicles, and cement and steel companies in the state have been approved in the meeting. Karnataka's contribution to the manufacturing sector will be remarkable in the country," Bommai said.

Expressing happiness over the volume of investment proposals received, Large Industries Minister Murugesh R Nirani said it is a testimony to the industry-friendly policies and the conducive ecosystem provided by the state government.

Stating that Karnataka is at the forefront of the renewable energy, ethanol production, and manufacturing sector, he said: "To encourage green hydrogen production, ethanol production, aerospace, and renewable energy, ESDM (Electronics System Design and Manufacturing), we have approved proposals from Amplus Active Private Limited, Ayana Renewable Power Six Private Limited, Vishwaraj Sugar Industries Limited, TATA Advanced Systems Limited."

"Karnataka is the third largest sugarcane-growing state in the country and also is the highest producer of ethanol. We are glad that the green energy sector investment proposals have been approved in this meeting," he added.