Thick forest cover hampers search for missing Su-30 fighter jet
Mountainous terrain and thick forest cover were posing a challenge to several teams, including airborne, searching for the Indian Air Force's missing Sukhoi-30 fighter jet on Thursday, two days after it disappeared with two pilots close to the China border.
The Indian Air Force said the weather was "marginally better" on Thursday, and a C-130 aircraft with electro-optical payload and ALH helicopters of IAF are being utilised for the search mission.
However, the terrain and thick forest cover are posing a challenge in the search operations.
"Today the weather was marginally better as a result more air effort could be put in. However, the terrain and thick foliage of the search area is a challenge to the ongoing operations," IAF said in a statement.
"Apart from the aerial assets, more personnel were added to the existing four ground parties of IAF personnel, nine parties of the Indian Army and two parties of the State Administration which are already deployed to search the area," the statement said. There has been no breakthrough so far.
The Su-30 jet with two pilots on board took off from the IAF Tezpur air base, located about 172 km from the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh around 9.30 a.m. on a routine training mission on May 23.
It lost radar and radio contact with the controlling station around 11.10 a.m. near Arunachal Pradesh's Doulasang area, an area adjoining China, 60 km north of Tezpur.
Tezpur is one of the three IAF air bases in the country that host the Sukhois.
Last year, a Sukhoi-30MKI crashed near Nagaon town of Assam during a routine sortie. While the two pilots ejected safely, some locals suffered splinter injuries in the crash.