A MiG-29K trainer aircraft, which was operating the Arabian Sea, crashed on Thursday evening at around 5 PM, the Indian Navy informed. One of the two pilots has been rescued, while the search is on for the other pilot who has gone missing. According to Navy, search operation is being conducted by air and surface units. An inquiry has been ordered to investigate the crash, it said.
The Indian Navy has a fleet of more than 40 MiG-29K fighter aircraft based out of Goa. These aircraft operate from aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. MiG-29K aircraft were seen in action in recently held Malabar exercise where navies of India, USA, Australia and Japan took part.
This is third crash of a MiG-29K aircraft in the past one year. Earlier in February, MiG-29K fighter aircraft of the Indian Navy had crashed in the Arabian Sea off Goa coast. The crash took place when the aircraft was on a routine training sortie. Navy spokesperson later took to Twitter to inform that the crash took place due to a technical snag. He further said that the pilot was safe following successful ejection. An inquiry was ordered into the accident.
In November last year, a MiG-29K trainer aircraft carrying two pilots had crashed in South Goa district’s Verna village after being hit by the birds. The pilot took the aircraft away from habitation before ejecting safely. According to the Navy, the supersonic MiG-29K twin-seat fighter encountered a flock of birds soon after taking off from the naval air base INS Hansa at Dabolim in Goa. The pilot noticed that the aircraft had caught fire. The pilots did not panic and took the aircraft from habitation before ejecting, a move which drew widespread appreciation.
India procured a fleet of 45 MiG-29K aircraft from Russia for $2 billion to operate from INS Vikramaditya. Indian Navy had inducted Vikramaditya under a separate deal back in 2013.