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Another MiG goes missing

Jalpaiguri, May 19: A MiG-27, which left Hashimara air base here, went missing today.

The aircraft, which was reportedly headed for Bagdogra, went missing in the afternoon, 10 minutes before it was supposed to land.

Administrative sources said the MiG-27, flown by flight officer S.K. Sinha, took off at around 11.15 am and was supposed to land at Bagdogra at 12.20 pm.

At 12.10, the air traffic control of Hashimara reported loss of contact with the MiG when the aircraft went off its radar screen.

The flying coffin, a sobriquet the MiGs have earned for taking several pilots to death, is learnt to have left with fuel sufficient for an hour’s trip.

Air force authorities have informed the civil and the police administration and started a search for the aircraft. Choppers were also seen hovering over Jalpaiguri town but the MiG remained untraceable even after the search.

Admitting the incident, the police and administrative officials said a message had been sent out to all police stations concerned to check whether the aircraft had landed in the district.

Since the location of Hashimara is close to Assam, Bhutan and Bangladesh, the BSF and the Sashastra Suraksha Bal deployed on the Indo-Bangla border and on the Indo-Bhutan border were also asked to stay alert.

“We have informed all police stations of the district to keep their eyes open for any news related to the missing aircraft. Also, the officers-in- charge of the police stations have been instructed to rush to the spot personally, if anything is found,” a senior police officer of Jalpaiguri said.

The air traffic officials have declined comment on the issue.

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