The wreckage of the MiG-29K fighter jet of the Indian Navy indicates that the missing pilot had ejected moments before the aircraft crashed in the Arabian Sea on Thursday.
Notably, Naval experts have found the primary wreckage of the fighter jet, but the ejection seat of Commander Nishant Singh is missing from the site. Commander Singh was the instructor at the controls of the Russian made twin-seater trainer aircraft and is missing post the accident. However, the trainee pilot has been rescued.
Meanwhile, the search for the missing pilot continues with the Navy taking every possible measure to locate Commander Nishant Singh.
On Sunday the Navy said several parts of the aircraft, which crashed after taking off from aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, had also been recovered. A high-level inquiry has been ordered to investigate the crash.
Jet flying at low-altitude
The MiG-29K is fitted with the Russian-built K-36D-3.5 ejection seat, widely considered the most sophisticated in the world. In the event of the ejection handles being pulled, the pilot in the rear seat is ejected first, followed by the pilot in the front.
The fighter jet was at a very low altitude when the pilots ejected. According to media reports, the trainee maintains he spotted a second parachute after he got out of the aircraft.
It is unclear why the personal locator beacon of the MiG-29K pilot failed to ping an electronic distress signal after making contact with the water.
Past incidents involving MiG-29K
Notably, Thursday’s incident was the fourth crash in recent times involving MoG-29K aircraft. A MiG-29K aircraft had crashed in Goa in February while on routine training sorties. However, the pilot was able to timely eject from the aircraft.
A twin-seater MiG-29K aircraft had crashed in November last year due to a bird hit after taking off from the Goa naval airbase. In that incident too, both the pilots were able to timely eject from the aircraft.
Similarly, a MiG-29K aircraft crashed in January 2018 after it veered off the runway at the INS Hansa base in Goa. However, the pilot escaped unharmed.
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