Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 2
Six days after a MiG-29K fighter jet crashed over the Arabian Sea, a pilot, Lt Commander Nishant Singh, is still missing even as the Navy has expanded its search. The pilot had ejected along with his co-pilot, who was rescued within minutes after the crash on November 26.
Third mishap in 12 months
- The MiG-29K crash was the third within the past 12 months and the fourth overall for the 45-strong Indian fleet which was ordered at a cost $2.2 billion
- The pilot, Lt Commander Nishant Singh, had ejected along with his co-pilot, who was rescued within minutes after the crash on November 26
Sources say so far there is no trace of the ejection seat or the parachute used by Lt Commander Singh. Besides, the locator beacon has not “pinged” — a word for sending a code signal. The other pilot who was rescued has reportedly told the Navy that he saw Lt Commander Singh eject from the jet, which was doing some 300 km per hour at the time of the crash.
The rescued pilot was in the rear seat of the jet, while the one missing was in the front seat of the jet. When an ejection is triggered, the second seat ejects first followed by the one in the front. The process takes about a second to complete.
An ejection and deployment of parachute is a complex procedure when carried out over sea. The pilot on hitting water has to unhook the parachute holding case from his body lest the weight of the chute pulls him down in the water. All Navy men, including pilots, are swimmers trained to swim under some tough conditions.
The twin-engine jet had taken off from on board the “mother ship”, INS Vikramaditya, around 4.30 pm and was headed to INS Hansa, Goa, the home base for the 45-strong fleet of Russian-made jets.
Divers of the Navy have located the debris of the aircraft some 50 km off Goa.
Lt Commander Singh had got married in May to his long-time friend Nayyab Randhawa. Both are children of retired Naval officers. Nayyab’s father is settled in Mumbai, while Lt Commander Singh’s father stays in Noida.