IAF renews search for MiG-29 pilot, wreckage

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 12:07

Shimla: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Thursday renewed its search for the pilot and the wreckage of the MiG-29 combat jet that crashed in the cold and inhospitable Himalayan terrain of Lahaul Valley in Himachal Pradesh, officials said.

The jet had crashed Tuesday during a night flying exercise.

"An IAF chopper from the Dalhousie airbase was pressed into service in Bharmour area this (Thursday) morning. Two recces were conducted Wednesday but no wreckage has been traced so far," Chamba Additional District Magistrate Neeraj Kumar told a news agency over phone.
The search operation was now focused on the high passes between the Kugti wildlife sanctuary and the Chobia Pass, located at an altitude of 5,000 m above sea level, he said.

"The entire stretch is quite treacherous with narrow gorges. The area is totally devoid of human activity," he stated.

Two IAF choppers Wednesday searched in neighbouring Lahaul and Spiti district.

The villages informed police that they noticed a fireball in the sky and heard a loud sound.

Lahaul and Spiti Deputy Commissioner Rajeev Shankar said four choppers - two each of the IAF and the Indian Army - would conduct a recce of the entire area Thursday.

Another government official said a bigger helicopter landed at a helipad Thursday near Keylong, headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti, to drop men and equipment.

Two MiG-29 jets had taken off from the Adampur airport near Jalandhar in Punjab Tuesday night. However, only one returned to the airbase and the other is believed to have crashed in hills overlooking Keylong, IAF officers said.

IANS



First Published: Thursday, October 20, 2011 - 12:07

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