Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to visit Chennai over missing IAF

Airforce

The search for the AN-32 aircraft with 29 people on board that went missing on Friday morning, continued on Saturday with no sightings of any debris in the Bay of Bengal, said an official of Indian Air Force (IAF).

“The search is going on. If there is any substantial development it will be made known,” Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee, Public Relations Officer for IAF told on Saturday.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar will visit Chennai today to oversee search operations for an Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 “courier flight” that went missing with 29 people on board on Friday.

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“All efforts are being made to trace the missing plane and the service personnel on board,” Mr Parrikar said yesterday.

The last call from the aircraft was around 16 minutes after take-off, when the pilot reported that “everything is normal”.

The plane left the Tambaram air base near Chennai at 8.30 am on Friday and was to have landed at Port Blair around 11.45 am. It fell off the radar at 9.12 am, 280 km east of Chennai.

More than 12 Navy and coast guard ships are looking for the aircraft in the Bay of Bengal. A submarine has also been diverted for the search. The search operation continued through the night.

The aircraft, which had six crew members and eight civilians (family members), may have plunged rapidly from an altitude of 23,000 feet, said an officer.

There were 11 Air Force personnel, one Navy and two Army soldiers and a coast guard member on the transport plane headed to Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar chain of islands.

The plane has an emergency beacon locator, which is activated when there is a crash. The Navy submarine is expected to track underwater signals from the locator.

The Navy has also sent five surveillance aircraft including a Dornier, and 13 ships – Sahyadri, Rajput, Ranvijay, Kamorta, Kirch, Karmuk, Kora, Kuthar, Shakti, Jyoti, Ghariyal and Sukanya.

According to the pilot, an AN-32 aircraft will not drop down like a stone or vanish into thin air in the case of normal emergency, as there will be reaction time.

Wefornews Bureau

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