The wreckage of the Sukhoi-30 fighter jet that went missing on Tuesday with two officers on board was found on Friday morning with officials saying that the aircraft had crashed inside a thick forest in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh, 60 km from Tezpur. The search operation was hampered by bad weather and no team had reached the spot till sunset on Friday. The fate of the crew is not known.
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force on Friday ordered a court of inquiry to probe the cause of the accident. “A court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the accident,” IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee told PTI here. The Su-30 MKI jet, with two pilots on board, had gone missing on Tuesday shortly after taking off from the Tezpur Salonibari Air Force station on a routine training sortie.
Ground parties were unable to proceed to the crash site as the area was “totally inaccessible”, Guwahati-based Defence PRO Lt Col Suneet Newton said. “Ground parties are standing by to be airlifted to the crash site as the area is totally inaccessible. Search parties of the Army are also attempting to reach the crash site by trekking cross country, but their progress is hampered due to inclement weather, thick vegetation and steep gradient of the terrain,” he said. “Search for the flight data recorder and missing crew will be perused by the ground parties after they reach the crash site,” the Defence PRO said.
The aircraft had lost radar and radio contact near the China border 40 minutes after its take-off. The Defence PRO said the fighter jet was declared “overdue” and a search and rescue operation was launched on Tuesday afternoon to locate the aircraft and the pilots. “Aerial search was carried out in a massive way around the last-known position of the aircraft, but incessant rain and dense clouds seriously hampered the search operations both in air as well as on the ground,” he said.