Search for the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter plane that went missing with two pilots in Assam continued on Wednesday, a day after it lost radar and radio contact, a defence spokesman said. Search operations were on in the areas where the plane lost contact with the Tezpur Salonibari Air Force station from where it took off at 10.30 am Tuesday, defence spokesman Lt Col Sombit Ghosh of the Army’s 4 Corps told PTI. The fighter plane had taken off from Salonibari IAF station in Tezpur town in Sonitpur district on a routine training mission and lost contact approximately 60 km north of Tezpur.
All necessary action, including search operations by helicopters, have been initiated to track the fighter plane, Col Ghosh added. Sonitpur district Deputy Commissioner Manoj Kumar Deka had yesterday told reporters in Tezpur that the IAF base did not get radar and radio contact with the aircraft one hour after it took off with the last contact being at a 60 km distance from Dubia of Gohpur sub-division in Biswanath district.
After making continuous searches in its network, the Air Force had informed the administration about the missing aircraft, Deka said. He immediately alerted the neighbouring district administration about the incident. The country’s frontline aircraft SU-30 MKI was inducted in Tezpur air base on June 15, 2009 by former IAF Vice–Chief Air Marshal P K Barbara during his tenure, IAF sources said.