In­dia steps up hunt for miss­ing plane

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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.

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