Indian Navy's operation to locate the second pilot of the MiG-29K trainer aircraft which ditched off Goa on November 26 continued with extensive deployment of ships and aircraft, a Naval spokesperson said on Monday. Intensive aerial, coastal and surface search by Indian Navy ships and aircraft is in progress to locate the second pilot Cdr Nishant Singh, a defence release said.
"Underwater search by divers and sea bed mapping using specialised equipment in vicinity of primary wreckage of MiG-29K is being undertaken," it said. The Navy on Sunday said some debris of the aircraft, including landing gear, turbo charger, fuel tank engine and wing engine cowling, had been located.
The Russian-origin jet had taken off from aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, and went down at around 5 PM on Thursday, officials had said, adding that one pilot of the aircraft had been rescued. The MiG-29K is an all-weather carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft developed by Russian aerospace company Mikoyan (MiG). The Indian Navy had procured a fleet of 45 MiG-29Ks from Russia over a decade back at a cost of around USD 2 billion to operate from INS Vikramaditya.
INS Vikramaditya was part of the second phase of the Malabar exercise involving navies of India, the US, Australia and Japan. The MIG-29K fleet on board the aircraft carrier was also involved in the mega naval drill that took place from November 17 to 20.