An Indian Air Force plane with 29 people on board has gone missing while flying from Chennai to Port Blair today.
The IAF’s AN-32 plane took off from Tambaram (Chennai) for Port Blair at 8:30 am. It made last contact 16 minutes later before disappearing into oblivion.
The aircraft can fly for up to four hours without refuelling.
The IAF, Navy and Coast Guard have launched a joint search and rescue operation but there hasn’t been any official statement on the matter.
Captain D K Sharma, Navy PRO, said an overdue procedure has been issued and the navy has launced full scale SAR to look for the aircraft. He also said the aircraft started from Chennai at 8:30 it was supposed to land at Port Blair at 11:30.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard said their reconnaissance Dornier aircraft has reached the site from where the IAF plane had sent the signals for the last time.
“Our Dornier (plane) has reached the site where the signals were sent by the (IAF) aircraft for the last time. We are looking for clues,” said a senior Coast Guard official.
Coast Guard has rushed four ships–ICGS Sagar and Samudra Pehredar from Chennai and ICGS Rajshree and ICGS Rajveer from Port Blair–to the spot. Another ship ICGS Vishwasth has been on stand-by at Prot Blair.
“The ships should reach the spot by night. But the rough sea is making the operations difficult,” the official added.