New Delhi: The body of pilot Commander Nishant Singh, who went missing after his MiG-29K aircraft crashed into the Arabian sea 11 days back, has been recovered, official sources said on Monday, even as the Indian Navy asserted that the samples are being sent for DNA testing for confirmation of identity.
The body was recovered by the rescue teams of the navy near the site of the crash.
"Mortal remains of a human body have been recovered in the vicinity of the wreckage site. The samples are being sent for DNA testing for confirmation of identity," a statement from the Indian Navy said.
Indian Navy pilot Commander Nishant Singh went missing after his MiG-29K aircraft crashed into the Arabian Sea on November 26. The second pilot was rescued soon after the incident.
An officer said on condition of anonymity that there are reasons to believe that the body is of Commander Nishant Singh. However, it can be fully ascertained following the result of the DNA testing, he added.
The navy said,"aerial search by maritime reconnaissance aircraft and helicopter sorties amounting to 270 hours have been undertaken so far. Underwater search around the crash site which include extensive dives by saturation divers and continuous overnight search using HD camera have been undertaken in the last 10 days."
"All sections of the aircraft wreckage including ejection seats have been accounted for using side scan sonar and HD cameras. The flight data recorder/cockpit voice recorder alongwith other important material have been recovered so far for analysis/investigation," it said.
The Indian Navy deployed nine warships, 14 aircraft and a number of fast interceptor craft as part of the search and rescue mission to locate Commander Sing
The Navy had ordered a high-level inquiry to investigate the incident which was third involving the Mig-29K in the last one year.
A MiG-29K twin-seat fighter aircraft had crashed in South Goa district on November 16 last year, but both the pilots had ejected safely.
Another MIG-29K crashed into the Arabian Sea off the Goa coast on February 23 this year after taking off from INS Hansa, a prominent naval air station at Vasco in Goa. The pilot of the aircraft had managed to eject safely.
The MiG-29K is an all-weather carrier-based multirole fighter aircraft developed by Russian aerospace company Mikoyan (MiG). The Indian Navy had procured a fleet of 45 MiG-29Ks from Russia at a cost of around USD 2 billion to operate from INS Vikramaditya.