A day after the missing Sukhoi-30 fighter jet’s wreckage was found, efforts by search and rescue teams to reach the spot have been hampered by inclement weather, rugged terrain with a steep gradient and thick foliage, defence sources said on Saturday.
Indian Air Force (IAF) officials said the ground parties comprising IAF Special Force Garuds and Army’s Para Special Forces are however endeavouring to reach the crash site. The IAF has said the area is “totally inaccessible”.
“The progress is slow and painstaking, owing to the rugged terrain and thick undergrowth,” an IAF official said.
The wreckage of the Sukhoi-30 fighter jet, which went missing on May 23, was found on Friday during an aerial recce in a thick forest around 60 km from Tezpur in Assam.
A search for the flight data recorder and the two missing pilots will be conducted once the parties reach the spot.
Search parties from the Army are also attempting to reach the spot by trekking but are constrained by inclement weather, thick vegetation and steep gradient of the terrain.
The Su-30 took off from the IAF Tezpur airbase, about 172 km from the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh, around 10.30 a.m. on May 23 on a routine training mission.
It lost radar and radio contact with the controlling station around 11.10 a.m. near Arunachal Pradesh’s Doulasang area, adjoining China, 60 km north of Tezpur.
Tezpur has 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.