A Serbian military plane crashed into a lake near the central Serbian town of Kragujevac on Thursday, Xinhua reported. The lone pilot of the four-engine "Orao" type aircraft catapulted to safety, but was taken to the Military Medical Academy (VMA) in Belgrade with minor injuries, reported Radio Television Serbia.
Slobodan Jocic, the pilot, deliberately crashed the plane into the lake when it became apparent that he could not land safely at the nearby airport in Kraljevo. The left wheel would not come down, despite efforts by the pilot to mechanically lower it when the hydraulic system failed.
According to Air Force Brigadier General
Ranko Zivak, speaking to reporters, the pilot Jocic attempted to touched down at the airport on the remaining wheels hoping to release the landing gear for the left wheel, but to no avail. Low on fuel, Jocic was instructed to steer the plane into the lake to avoid any potential damage or injuries on the ground. Jocic catapulted from the plane at a height of about 600 meters and fell into the lake, as did the plane.
A test pilot and flight instructor, Jocic was preparing for an air rally to be held on Saturday. According to Zivak, the plane had been serviced in March and had logged 24 flight hours since that time.