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Pilot missing after MiG-29K crashes into Arabian Sea

A twin-seater MiG-29K fighter jet of the Indian Navy crashed into the Arabian Sea off Goa on Thursday evening during a routine sortie. One pilot was rescued and efforts were on to trace the second pilot.  These aircraft operate from the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier.

This is the third mishap involving the MiG-29K in the last one and half years. At least 45 jets manufactured by Russia were inducted into the Navy some years back for flying from the aircraft carrier.

Giving details of the mishap, the Navy said a board of enquiry was ordered to ascertain the cause of the incident. “A MiG-29K trainer aircraft operating at sea met with an accident on November 26. One pilot has been recovered and searches by air and surface units in progress for the second pilot. An enquiry has been ordered to investigate the incident,” the Navy said on Friday.

The MiG-29Ks had recently took part in the prestigious Malabar series of maritime exercises with the navies of the US, Australia and Japan.  The Indian aircraft carrier along with the US Navy’s aircraft carrier Nimitz took part in the second phase of the four-nation drill in the North Arabian Sea off Goa earlier this month.

The exercises focused 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 carried out high-intensity naval operations over four days from November 17 onwards. These exercises also 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.

This is the third mishap of MiG-29K aircraft in the last one year. In February this year, a MiG- 29K crashed after being hit by birds over Goa. Both pilots had steered the jet away from habitation before ejecting.

In November last year, a MiG-29K trainer aircraft crashed outside a village in Goa. Both the pilots had then ejected safely.  In January 2018, a fighter jet crashed as it veered off the runway at the INS Hansa base in Goa.  The pilot escaped unharmed.  The MiG-29Ks of the Navy are based at its base in Goa and operate from the lone aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

Saturday, 28 November 2020 | PNS | New Delhi

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