GUWAHATI: A week after a Sukhoi-30 fighter jet went missing and days after its wreckage was found, there is still no clarity on the fate of its two pilots though a search for them is on, said an IAF official on Monday.
The black box of the jet was found on Sunday, when the ground search teams reached the accident site on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. The official said the black box will be brought back and it will take some time before the data can be analysed.
"The cause of the accident will be known only after the information is extracted from the black box. We are looking for signs of the crew," the official said, but termed sabotage or foul play was unlikely.
"It may be a case of 'controlled flight into terrain' (an accident in which a aircraft is unintentionally flown into the ground, or water), but anything final would be known only from the black box. The court of inquiry will establish the cause" the official said.
Asked if it could be a case of an advanced cyber attack which manipulated the flight, the official said it would not be possible as the aircraft had an option where the pilot can switch to manual mode in case the computer system appeared faulty.
The wreckage of the Sukhoi-30 fighter jet, which went missing on May 23, was found on Friday through aerial recce, in a thick forest around 60 km from Assam's Tezpur.
The Su-30 had taken off from the Tezpur air bas, around 10.30 a.m. on a routine training mission on May 23 but 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.