An Indian Navy MiG-29K crashed under unknown circumstances into the sea off Goa. The pilot ejected safely.
The Navy informed on Twitter about the incident. As per the official Twitter handle of the Indian Navy, “A MiG 29K on a routine sortie over the sea off Goa developed a technical malfunction while returning to base. The pilot ejected safely & has been recovered in a swift SAR op. The pilot was reported to be in stable condition. BoI ordered to investigate the cause of the incident”.
A board of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of the crash. It was the fourth accident involving the MiG-29K since 2019.
The aircraft crashed while it was returning to the base. The MiG-29s are deployed in Goa at the naval base INS Hansa.
The Indian Navy is the world’s only operator of the MiG-29K fighter aircraft acquired from Russia along with Admiral Gorshkov renamed INS Vikramaditya in India.
The safety record of the MiG-29Ks has not been very good. The force is now looking at the procurement of 25-26 foreign fighter aircraft for operations from the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant commissioned recently by the Prime Minister in Kochi.
The MiG-29K is fitted with the Russian-built K-36D-3.5 ejection seat, widely considered the most sophisticated in the world. If the ejection handles are pulled, the pilot in the rear seat is ejected first, followed by the pilot in the front.
In November 2020, a fighter pilot died after a MiG-29K crash in November 2020. While one of the pilots was rescued soon after the incident, Commander Nishant Singh’s body was recovered 11 days after the crash.
Another MiG 29K crashed the same year in February after being hit by birds. Both pilots had steered the jet away from habitation before ejecting, which drew praise from Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik.
In November 2019, a MiG-29K trainer aircraft crashed outside a village in Goa. Both the pilots had ejected safely.