Human remains recovered from Dornier wreckage; search ends

Chennai, July 14 (IANS) After the recovery of human remains and personal belongings of the three-member crew along with the wreckage from the seabed, search operations for the missing Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft that plunged into the sea on June 8 have been called off, an official said on Tuesday.

Even as the Coast Guard announced an end to the search operations, named ‘Op Talash’, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar conveyed his condolences to the families of the three deceased crew members.

“Human remains and wrist watches of the crew have been recovered from the seabed. The human remains will be sent for DNA analysis for identification purposes,” Coast Guard Inspector General (Eastern Region) Satya Prakash Sharma told reporters here.

He said the search operations ended on Monday night as most aircraft parts have been recovered.

He said the human remains would be sent to the Tamil Nadu Forensic Science Department for DNA tests, and the flight data recorder or black box and other recovered items to the board of inquiry to ascertain the cause of the mishap.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said the remains were recovered from “three different locations at the crash site” and identified by a doctor on board MV Olympic Canyon — Reliance Industries’ ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) deep sea operations vessel which was requisitioned for searching the Dornier wreckage.

“The recovered remains were handed over to the Board of Enquiry at Coast Guard Air Station in Chennai,” Kar said in a tweet.

“Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar expresses his heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families,” Kar also tweeted.

According to Sharma, the aircraft seems to have exploded in mid-air and crashed into the sea.

The human remains and a wrist watch of one of the crew members were found near the wreckage during Monday night’s search, the Coast Guard IG said.

The Dornier aircraft with deputy commandant Vidyasagar (pilot), deputy commandant Subash Suresh (co-pilot) and navigator/observer M.K. Soni went missing on the night of June 8 while returning to its base at Chennai airport after a surveillance sortie along the Tamil Nadu coast and Palk Bay.

The search operations drew a blank for a long time, after which the Coast Guard requested agencies in the US, Canada, Australia and Japan to help find the probable location of the missing aircraft.

According to Sharma, the foreign agencies validated the search area of the Coast Guard.

The aircraft was flying at around 9,000 feet when it dropped about 5,000 feet in a few seconds on June 8.

Sharma earlier told IANS that it was not possible for the aircraft to come out of the dive due to the speed at which it came down.

According to him, the black box data was expected to reveal the cause of the mishap.

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