Shimla : Rescuers have still not been able to retrieve the main wreckage of an Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG-29 combat jet stuck in a glacier in the Himalayan heights of Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul Valley, officials said Sunday.
There is also no word yet on Squadron Leader D.S. Tomar who piloted the ill-fated plane.
“The major portion of the wreckage is still stuck in nearly 10 feet of snow of the glacier. The search parties are trying it hard to dig the wreckage but they haven’t been successful,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Khajana Ram said over phone.
“As the portion of the glacier which contains the debris is caving in, it’s proving even more difficult to reach it,” he said.
The search teams Friday identified more parts of the combat jet on the Gangstang glacier in the Chokhang hills. It’s one of the prominent glaciers in the area.
Another official said as the glacier is not solid enough due to high temperature in the past few months, the chances of debris sinking further into the glacier can’t be ruled out. “So rescue workers are taking more precautions.”
The fighter jet crashed Oct 18 in the Himalayan terrain at elevations ranging from 15,000 to 20,000 feet above sea level. It was on a night flying training mission and had taken off from Adampur near Jalandhar in Punjab.
“Over 55 personnel, including expert mountaineers from the IAF, the Indian Army and some local mountaineers are involved in day-and-night combing operations,” an IAF official involved in the search said, requesting anonymity.
“They are fighting against all odds ranging from hostile weather to steep gradients,” he added.
The task force commander, Group Capt P.K. Sharma, had said earlier that the crash site was identified by aerial search and imageries received from the remotely piloted aircraft and other aircraft which conducted the photo reconnaissance of the area.