The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Sunday said it is continuing its search effort with the help of the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy to locate the missing aircraft AN-32 and will continue the same irrespective of the weather and tough conditions. “The Indian Air Force is continuing its search effort with the help of the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy. We are continuously searching that area.
The weather in that part is not very conducive. Poor visibility condition exists there. That makes the search operation all the more difficult. But we are continuing. As of now, we have not got any breakthrough,” IAF PRO Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee told the media here. Banerjee said the IAF has reached out to each and every family of the people on board and assured them that they are doing everything possible to find out if there is any chance of any survivor. “We will be continuing our search operation irrespective of the weather and tough conditions till we get a breakthrough. There was no distress call. We are going by the last known position which was there on the radar, which is about 151 nautical mile to east of Chennai,” he added. He said the IAF is progressively expanding the area to cover the entire flight route. “We are very hopeful of the survivors. We all pray that we should be able to find them,” he added.
Vice Admiral H.C.S. Bisht, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Naval Command, earlier today said help is being sought from the ISRO for satellite image of the area. He said that a large number of ships, Air Force aircrafts, helicopters and coast guard ships have been deployed in the search operation. The search operation to trace the missing IAF aircraft goes on unhindered for the third day on Sunday, braving monsoon weather conditions in the sea. The mission is now centred on the probable crash zone of about five thousand square kilometre centered around the probable area of disappearance of the transport aircraft from the radar screens on Friday morning. Extensive search operations are continuing off Chennai for locating the missing aircraft. A total of 12 Indian Navy and four ICG ships are currently engaged in the search and rescue operations. 12 (eight fixed wing + four helicopters) IN, three IAF and two ICG aircraft have also been flying, and have clocked a total of 29 sorties with 134 hours of flying time during the ongoing search and rescue operations.
The Indian Navy is also maintaining constant liaison with the affected families of the missing Naval sailor and eight Defence civilians, providing regular updates on the search and rescue operations operations and any assistance that may be required. Weather conditions have improved marginally since yesterday. It is expected that the weather would improve further over the next 24 hours. Coordinated search and rescue operations by ships, helicopters and fixed wing aircraft would intensify in the next 24 hours.