Shimla: Massive combing operations continued Wednesday, with trekkers managing to climb snow-bound peaks in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul Valley to locate a missing IAF MiG-29 combat jet and its pilot.
The jet, with pilot Squadron Leader DS Tomar, crashed in the Himalayan terrain at elevations ranging from 15,000 to 20,000 feet above the sea level Oct 18. It was on a night flying training mission and took off from Adampur near Jalandhar in Punjab.
“Trekkers of the Ladakh Scouts and local mountaineers Wednesday managed to scale some of the peaks and are combing the area,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Khajana Ram said.
The area witnessed moderate snowfall in the past few days that hampered the operations.
The Ladakh Scouts, other elements of the Indian Army and Indian Air Force air warriors of the mountaineering team are being utilized, according to an IAF statement.
“Over 132 sorties have been flown towards search and rescue operations,” Squadron Leader Priya Joshi, spokesperson for IAF`s Western Air Command based in New Delhi, said.
The IAF has deployed all its front-line aircraft like SU-30, Jaguar, RPA, Cheetah, Chetak and AN-32 to comb the area.
The National Remote Sensing Agency has been approached to make available data of the probable search area that may have been covered by any of the satellites.
“This effort is important as no radio call was received from the crashed aircraft,” the statement said.
“Aviation accident experts who have flown over the area feel that the ground party is likely to be most effective since the aircraft may have disintegrated after the impact and the debris may be spread across the slopes,” the IAF said Tuesday.
Some people of Thirot area last week claimed to have spotted burnt pieces of the aircraft in Chokhang hills but the search parties have not been able to reach the site due to high winds and snowfall.