In shocking news that took everyone by surprise, a Russian pilot has finally been found and he is still alive who went missing for 30 years. The pilot was assumed dead after his plane got crashed three decades ago during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. Russian military veterans confirmed the news on Friday. They said that the hale and healthy pilot wants to come home.
“He is still alive. It’s very astonishing. Now he needs help, “the head of the paratroopers’ union Valery Vostrotin told RIA Novosti state news agency. However, Vostrotin snubbed to reveal the name the pilot due to confidential reason.
The pilot is likely to be over 60 now who faced a deadly challenge in 1987. The deputy head of veteran’s organisation Battle Brotherhood, Vyacheslav Kalinin, told the news agency, telling that the pilot now wants to come home.
Vyacheslav Kalinin indicated that the pilot could be in Pakistan, where Afghanistan had camps for prisoners of war. RIA Novosti reported that during the raging war between 1979 and 1989, it is estimated that over 125 Soviet planes were shot down in Afghanistan.
When Soviet troops retreated in 1989, around 300 soldiers were gone missing. After that, just 30 of them were found alive and most turned up to their home countries. According to the reports from Kommersant business daily, only one Soviet pilot was shot down in 1987, naming him as Sergei Pantelyuk from the southern Russian Rostov region, who went missing along with his plane after taking off from Bagram airfield (which is a now a US air base in the north of Kabul.)
The head of a local veterans’ organisation revealed that his mother and sister are both alive. Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid tracked Pantelyuk’s 31-year-old daughter who was born months before her father had gone missing.
Former Soviet soldier Bakhretdin Khakimov was one of those victims who chose to stay in Afghanistan. He was badly injured and was restored back to normal by the help of local people who then converted him to Islam. Bakhretdin told in an interview to AFP, “I stayed in Afghanistan because Afghans are very kind and hospitable people.”