With no clue during the surface search on the missing Indian Air Force (IAF) AN32 flight with 29 passengers on board, the defence authorities havesaid that they are preparing to explore under water search operations with the help of private and government agencies to locate the plane.
“As of now no debris or survivors have been found… 13 Naval vessels, 2 Coast Guard ships besides assets from Andaman and Nicobar islands are engaged in the operations,” Coast Guard Commander (East) Inspector General Rajan Bargotra told a press conference in Chennai.
“We will continue our search operations relentlessly. Once we are convinced that we are unable to find anything on the sea surface, our next step will be concentrating on the underwater search with the help of submarines”, Bargotra said.
Bargotra also informed the media that they have taken help from various government institutes and expert organisations, including the Indian Space Research organisation (ISRO) and National Institute of Ocean Technology(NIOT).
Noting that 13 vessels from the Navy, two Coast Guard ships, in addition to assets from Port Blair have been deployed, he said, “We have requested NIOT to give their vessel, which is presently on a voyage from Mauritius to Tuticorin. Once the vessel reaches here, it will also be used for the search.”
The Coast Guard is coordinating the search operations for the AN-32 aircraft which went off radar 16 minutes after taking off from nearby Tambaram airbase on its way to Port Blair on July 22.