The earlier PIB release about the crash site and operations can be better understood with the above picture. Some excerpts from the PIB report:
Yesterday, on 26 Oct 2011, the Task Force Commander Gp Capt P K Sharma VM, coordinating the search for the missing MiG-29 aircraft and pilot, confirmed locating crash site at 15000’ AMSL above ‘Chokhang’ village in ‘Lahaul’ area. He informed that several components of the aircrafts have been recovered after digging under the snow and rubble. These are being brought down to base camp for proper identification.
The IAF search teams were dropped on the ledge 200m above the suspected crash site at an elevation of 15000’ AMSL. This is about 5000’ above the valley base along village ‘Chokhang’. The ground search party was divided in groups to cover the bowl and the slopes on either side of the ridge where the images had indicated presence of debris. At a gradient of 70-80 degree and in an avalanche prone area, the progress could not have been faster. Eight expert mountaineers including three from Army were dropped on the ledge by helicopter. They spent the night on the ledge with just basic survival gear. Visual reconnaissance of the area by helicopter on subsequent days could not confirm the exact crash site since the area was now covered under fresh snow.
Since 19 Oct the search parties have continued to manually clear the snow and digging the earth on these treacherous slopes using shovels and pickaxes in the area along the lines of impact, in search of the debris. In the mean time, a base camp was set up at 13000’ AMSL on a ledge to provide support to the search party. About 55 personnel in all including expert mountaineers from the IAF, Army and some hired mountaineers are involved in the search of the pilot & debris of the missing aircraft.