Sources in the Indian navy have confirmed that no signal from the Komar personal locator, a key part of the survival kit of Commander Nishant Singh, have been detected. For the signal to be detected, it is essential for the device to be floating, and not submerged.
The incident happened in a training Mig-29k fighter, along with a trainee pilot, last Thursday. While the trainee pilot had been rescued immediately, the commander Nishant remains missing. The incident took place shortly after the fighter had taken off from the deck of the Navy’s only operational aircraft carrier, the INS Vikramaditya.
At present, the navy has refused to comment on the possibility of the personal locator beacon failing to function, as the matter is under investigation. They have however added that the units work only on the surface of water, and not if they are submerged. ”This is a complex case of low-level ejection over the sea,” say senior Navy sources.
”There are built-in safeties for ensuring that the pilot is separated from the (ejection) seat at an appropriate height and all associated (rescue) equipment is deployed.” In this case, ”it appears that adequate time was not available for the personal locator beacon to be deployed.”
The navy has refused to give up the search operations, and continues to look for the missing commander.