Screengrab from the video shows the moment the aircraft collide and the subsequent crash. Photo courtesy: Free Press Journal

One pilot was killed, and another was injured, after two small aircraft collided midair during an air show in southern Portugal on Sunday, according to an AFP report quoting the air force. The collision reportedly occurred at the Beja Air Show at 4:05 pm local time (1505 GMT), during an aerial demonstration involving six aircraft.

Screengrab from the video shows the moment the aircraft collide and the subsequent crash. Photo courtesy: Free Press Journal

The deceased pilot was a Spanish national, as confirmed by the air force in a brief statement. An Air Force spokeswoman informed AFP that the victim was flying one of the aircraft involved in the collision. The other pilot, a Portuguese national, sustained light injuries and received emergency medical treatment before being transported to Beja hospital.

Video captures fatal crash

A video captured by a spectator and shared on social media showed a formation of six aircraft in flight. One of the aeroplane ascended, appeared to touch another and then crashed to the ground in a cloud of smoke. The air force reportedly stated that one plane crashed outside the airbase’s grounds, while the second plane involved, managed to land on the airport tarmac, resulting in no injuries among the spectators.

Portugal’s Defence Minister Nuno Melo described the incident as a tragic accident and announced that an investigation would be launched to determine the exact cause of the collision. President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa expressed his sorrow, stating, “It was meant to be a moment of leisure and shared enjoyment. It turned into a moment of pain.”

Details about the aircraft involved in crash

The six aircraft involved in the demonstration were part of an aerobatic group known as the ‘Yak Stars’, consisting of Spanish and Portuguese pilots. The plane that collided were Yakovlev Yak-52 models, a Soviet-designed aerobatic training aircraft.

The Beja Air Show’s website indicated that the Yak Stars were participating alongside approximately 30 other European aerobatic groups. The organisers had promoted the Yak Stars as southern Europe’s largest civil aerobatics group.

Following the accident, the air force announced that the event, which began on Saturday, had been suspended. The air force extended its condolences to the family of the deceased pilot.

(The article is published under a mutual content partnership arrangement between The Free Press Journal and Connected to India)