Shimla : The Indian Air Force (IAF) Friday said it has recovered wreckage of a MiG-29 jet that crashed in the remote Himalayan terrain of Lahaul Valley in Himachal Pradesh three days ago. But it failed to locate the entire combat aircraft.
“Some locals have sighted parts of the wreckage in the hills of Thirot, and IAF experts matched these with the MiG-29,” Lahaul and Spiti Deputy Commissioner Rajeev Shankar said.
He said some villages of Thirot, 40 km from Keylong town, Thursday reported they spotted some burnt pieces of the aircraft in the Chokhang hills.
The villagers brought three parts and handed it over to IAF.
Meanwhile, the search operation that was abandoned Thursday due to mild snow in higher reaches continued Friday in the Chokhang hills.
Chokhang villagers had reported immediately after the crash that they saw a fireball in the sky and heard a loud boom.
“The search operation is still on. A team of 80 trekkers from the army and IAF conducted ground survey of Chokhang hills,” Squadron Leader Priya Joshi, spokesperson for IAF’s Western Air Command, told IANS over phone from New Delhi. Helicopters were also deployed.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Khajana Ram said a 12-member police team also conducted a recce.
“Since the rocky hills are very steep and were slippery due to snowfall, the combing operation was abandoned in the day. Moreover, extreme cold conditions hampered the search operation. It will again start Saturday,” he said.
The pilot, who had taken off from Adampur near Jalandhar in Punjab Tuesday night, was on night flying training mission.
The entire mountain range in the valley is treacherous and the rocks cliffs are quite steep and gorges narrow.
An IAF AN-12 aircraft with 102 defence personnel, including six crew members, crashed on the 17,400-feet-high Dakka glacier in the Chandrebhaga ranges in Lahaul and Spiti Feb 7, 1968. Only four bodies were recovered.