India steps up hunt for missing plane
INDIA stepped up a major search operation for an air force plane that disappeared over the Bay of Bengal with 29 people on board.
The Russian-built AN-32 military transport plane was on a routine flight from here to Port Blair, capital of the remote Andaman and Nicobar islands, on July 22 when it vanished from radar screens.
Twenty-one of the passengers on board were defence personnel, including six crew members, while eight others worked for the military in non-uniform roles.
On its official Twitter account, the Indian navy said 18 navy and coastguard ships were now deployed in the search operation, along with six aircraft and a submarine.
“#SAROps 18 Naval & ICG ships (+1sm) deployed with various aircraft ... to locate missing AN 32,” the navy tweeted.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar travelled to the Tambaram air base on July 23, where he was briefed by military officials before departing for an aerial survey to monitor the ongoing operation.
“It lost contact with the radars approximately 150 nautical miles east of Chennai,” IAF Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee said.
Several reports said weather in the Bay of Bengal had been rough owing to the southwest monsoon.
Radar data from the missing aircraft showed it making a sharp left turn before rapidly losing altitude.
The AN-32 is the IAF’s workhorse aircraft.