TEZPUR: Search operations continued for the third day today for the missing Sukhoi-30 fighter jet that went missing on May 23 after taking off from Salonibari airbase here on a routine training sortie, Defence sources said this evening. Defence Spokesperson Lt Col Sombit Ghosh told PTI that search operations were resumed today from dawn to dusk and it would continue till the plane is located.
As the weather was marginally better today than yesterday, intensive air efforts could be put in to the ongoing operation tasking C-130 aircraft with electro-optical payload, Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Chetak helicopters of IAF for this mission, he said.
Apart from the aerial assets, four ground parties of IAF personnel, nine parties of Indian Army and two parties of state administration have been deployed at different locations to search the area for the aircraft, he added. Till now, however, no breakthrough has been made in locating the aircraft and its pilot, the Defence spokesman said.
The fighter plane had lost radar and radio contact with Tezpur Salonibari Air Force station an hour after taking off from there at 10.30 am with the last contact approximately 60 km north of Tezpur, Ghosh said.
At present Tezpur has a strength of two squadrons of SU-30 aircraft with one squadron comprising 12 to 16 aircraft, IAF sources said. Chabua IAF airbase in upper Assam in the eastern sector has one squadron at present, the sources said.