The missing pilot of the Indian Navy MiG-29K that went down in the Arabian Sea on Thursday evening managed to eject moments before it crashed.
Four days after the incident, Navy specialists have located the primary wreckage of the Russian-built twin-seat fighter. Sources told NDTV the ejection seat of Commander Nishant Singh, the instructor at the controls of the jet, is not present at this site.
The Commander remains missing. The second pilot, a trainee, has been rescued.
The MiG-29K is fitted with the Russian-built K-36D-3.5 ejection seat, widely considered the most sophisticated in the world. In the event of the ejection handles being pulled, the pilot in the rear seat is ejected first, followed by the pilot in the front.
Sources indicate the fighter was at a very low altitude when the pilots ejected. They add the trainee maintains he spotted a second parachute after he got out of the aircraft.
It is unclear why the personal locator beacon of the MiG-29K pilot failed to ping an electronic distress signal after making contact with the water.
The government continues to conduct an intensive aerial, coastal and surface search operation involving naval ships and aircraft. Divers are carrying out underwater searches using specialised equipment to map the seabed in the area around the primary wreckage site, the sources added.
Commander Singh, who recently got married, conveyed news of his wedding to his Commanding Officer in May in a humourous letter.