Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Search on for missing MiG-29

Neelam Mathews
Oct 25, 2011

A massive search operation has been launched by the IAF using  SU-30, Jaguar, RPA, Cheetah, Cheetal and An-32 aircraft to search for the missing Mig-29 aircraft and its pilot Sqn Ldr DS Tomar that crashed on the night of 18 Oct 11 in the mountainous area of Lahaul Spiti in Himachal Pradesh.

Till date 132 sorties have been flown towards search and rescue operations. Considering the remote, high altitude treacherous snow clad mountainous region at elevations extending from 15000 ft to 20000 ft above mean sea level and the fact that no radio call was received from the pilot of the missing aircraft has made the search effort very demanding, says the IAF.

All available data including that from other aircraft flying in the area, inputs from the formation leader, data on his aircraft as well as reports from civil police received through villagers in the area were collated to ascertain the probable crash site. The National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) has been approached to make available data of the probable search area that may have been covered by any of the satellites. This effort was important as no radio call was received from the crashed aircraft and early sighting of the missing pilot and the ac wreckage was important.

Aviation accident experts who have flown over the area are of the opinion that the ground party is likely to be most effective since the aircraft may have disintegrated after the impact and the debris is spread across the slopes on either side of the ridge line. Nothing can be said with certainty at this stage until the crash site is conclusively identified and flight data recorder (black box) is recovered and analysed.

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