GUWAHATI: The last time the father of Achudev (25), one of the two missing pilots of the Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi-30 which crashed in Arunachal Pradesh last Tuesday, spoke to his son was on the latter’s birthday.
“I spoke to him last on the morning of May 22. It was his birthday and I wished him. I couldn’t speak much as he was preparing for his flying duty. I asked him to call back in the evening but he did not. So, I called up but he was in the flying range… I thought of calling him the next morning but did not do so thinking that he would be busy preparing for duty. Later that day, we learnt about the fighter jet going missing,” Achudev’s father, PV Sahadevan, told the New Indian Express.
Sahadevan, who is a retired scientist of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and his wife currently reside in the IAS station in Assam’s Tezpur. The family hails from Kozhikode in Kerala.
“The last time we met him was in March when he had come to Trivandrum on a short official visit. Earlier in January, he had come home and spent a few days with us,” Sahadevan said.
He said he and his wife would not leave Assam as long as the search operations for their son and the other pilot continued.
“Searches are being conducted. We will be here as long as they continue,” he said.
According to media reports, the other pilot was identified as Devesh Pankaj, but defence authorities have not yet announced any of the pilots’ names.
Meanwhile, according to media reports, a blood-stained shoe, a half-burnt PAN card and one of their wallets were located at the crash site on Monday. Defence sources neither confirmed nor denied the reports, but said search operations were still on.
The aircraft was on a routine training mission when it lost radio and radar contact with ground staff at 11:10 am, 40 minutes after take-off from Tezpur, last Tuesday.