IAF Sukhoi jet with two officers goes missing near Indo-China border

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An Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi-30 fighter jet with two pilots on board went missing from near the Indo-China border in Assam.

The Sukhoi took off from the IAF Tezpur air base, located only about 172 km from Indo-China border in Arunachal Pradesh, on a routine training mission.

A massive search operation, also involving helicopters, has been launched to trace the plane and the pilots, aged between 25 and 30, Defence spokesman Lt Col Sombit Ghosh of the Army’s IV Corps told media.

The identity of the two pilots has not been disclosed.

An IAF statement that the plane was part of a two- aircraft formation.

Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner Manoj Kumar Deka told reporters that the Airforce station had informed him that the last radar and radio contact with the plane was made at around 11.10 am when it it was flying over Dubia in Gohpur sub-division of Biswanath district, adjacent to Sonitpur district.

The Air Force, after making a thorough search on its network, informed the deputy commissioner about the aircraft going missing. He then alerted Biswanath district authorities.

Deka said he has asked all sub-divisions in his district and requested officials in Biswanath district, bordering Arunachal Pradesh, besides village headmen to provide information about the missing aircraft.

At present, two squadrons – around 36 aircraft – are deployed at Tezpur for guarding the frontiers in Arunachal Pradesh with China. The planes were stationed at the airbase on June 15, 2009.

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