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IAF task force locates MIG 29 wreckage after 8 days

After an eight-day operation which saw 149 aerial sorties, the air force has located the wreckage of the MiG-29 fighter aircraft which had crashed on snow-clad mountains in Himachal Pradesh on October 19 but the fate of the pilot is not known.
Hindustan Times | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON OCT 27, 2011 08:55 PM IST

After eight day long operation Indian air force received a partial success when ground team was able to locate debris of the combat plane MIG –29 that wrecked in high mountains beyond Chokang village in Lahaul area. Search teams are clueless about the missing pilot squadron leader D.S Tomar

Indian Air force Task force Commander, group Captain Capt P K Sharma- coordinating the search for the missing MiG-29 aircraft on Thursday confirmed locating crash site at 15000’ above ‘Chokhang’ village in ‘Lahaul’ area’ said Wing Commander Gerard Galway spokesman of Indian Airforce in New Delhi.

During the aerial recce , pilot spotted debris, the ground search team camping at an 15000 feet at “ Chokang” dugged the snow to recover components of aeroplane. Infdian airforce choopers had dropped eight expert mountaineers including three from Army They spent the night on the ledge with just basic survival gear ‘ said the spokesman. The Indian Airforce had brought team sherpa from Darejeelinmg, who have expertise in the carrying rescue and ground search in high himalaya’s that assisted the army mountaineers.

The recovered parts will be brought down at the base camp, where the aeronautical experts would verify them. “ These are being brought down to base camp for proper identification. Indian airfoce had pressed into service remotely Piloted Aircraft and other aircraft which conducted the photo reconnaissance of the area” said the spokesman.

“Though the inputs were correct, however, since the crashed aircraft had disintegrated into small pieces and the debris was spread across the slopes on either side of the ridge it could not be conclusively identified” said. After the crash pradhan of Thirot Panchyat Jagdish Sharma along with villagemen had trekked the high mountains and brought burnt pieces if the plans that was scattered across the snow.

However the intermittent spell of snow in the high mountains had removed the traces of the debris detected during aerial recce.

The IAF search teams were dropped on the ledge 200m above the suspected crash site at an elevation of 15000 feet high in the avalanche prone area.

After the the MIG 29 went missaing on the October 19 search continued to located the pilot and the wreckage of the plane. About 55 personnel in all including expert mountaineers from the IAF, Army and some hired mountaineers are involved in the search of the pilot & debris of the missing aircraft.

A total of 149 sorties have been flown toward toward the search and rescue effort till 25 Oct 2011.AOC-in-C WAC, Air Marshal D C Kumaria, “the search would continue till we reach to the bottom of case and arrive at definite conclusions”.

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