The Indian Navy on Friday said that a MiG-29K trainer aircraft operating from the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya met with an accident over the Arabian Sea on Thursday evening. While one pilot has been recovered, another is missing.
The Navy in a statement said that search operation for the second pilot by air and surface units is in progress. It added that an inquiry has been ordered to investigate the incident.
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.
INS Vikramaditya had just finished phase 2 of the Malabar exercises involving navies from US, Japan and Australia in the northern Arabian Sea. The exercises were centered around the Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group of the Indian Navy and Nimitz Carrier Strike Group of the US Navy.
The two carriers, along with other ships, submarine and aircraft of the participating navies, had engaged in high-intensity naval operations over four days from November 17 onwards.
These exercises had included cross-deck flying operations and advanced air defence exercises by MIG 29K fighters of INS Vikramaditya and F-18 fighters and E2C Hawkeye from Nimitz.
Malabar exercises had irked China, which is engaged in a border dispute with India along the Line of Actual Control at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.
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