In 1958 pakistan had become a member of the pact against Russia. The United States poured in military hardware into Pakistan which Pakistan planned to use against India. They were also constructinga a set of secret hangers and airfields in Pakistan Punjab.
The Indian Defence Minister at that time Krishna Menon was apprised of the developments. Accordingly he authorized a photo reconissance mission by a Canberra over Pakistan. The Canberra was a verstile plane and could fly at an altitude of 50,000 ft. The pilots for the flight were Squadron Leader Sen Gupta and Flight Lieutenant Rampal. The entiremission was supposed to take only 15 minutes as the border of India and Pakistan are very close and so are the military installations.
The plane took off on the day of Ramadan and entered Pakistan air space. But the Indian crew was in for a shock as they realized that their secret mission had been compromised. They saw Pakistan Air Force Sabre Jet (F86) waiting for them. The pilot of
The Canberra hurtled down and sebgupta gave orders to bale out. He waited till the navigator Rampal had jumped out, before himself ejecting. However while ejecting his legs dashed against the dashboard and were broken. Both pilots baled out from an altitude of 45,000 ft. It was a acy of great courage.
The pilots were captured by the Pakis and taken to hospital before an Indan DC 3 of the IAF landed in Lahore to bring them back. the incident caused great embarassment to the IAF top brass and krishna Menon as well. A later enquiry revealed that a senior officer of the IAF had leaked this info as he was in a relationship witha Pakistan girl. He was dismissed.
But this is a sad incident and one can only hope that it does not recur again.