Chennai/New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) Search for the AN-32 Indian Air Force plane that went missing over the Bay of Bengal continued for the fourth day on Monday, with no trace of it being found.
While sources said satellites have provided some hints, and the areas indicated are being searched, no debris or signals from the aircraft could be spotted.
The Indian Navy chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba, meanwhile, said a total 250 hours of sorties have been flown in search of the plane, and all leads found are being followed.
“The coordinated efforts between Indian Navy, IAF (Indian Air Force) and Coast Guard is continuing. All together 17 ships and 17-18 aircraft are searching designated areas. Over 250 hours of sorties have been flown,” Lanba said.
“We have got inputs from satellite images and also from sensors of the aircraft. All leads have been followed. It is an ongoing search at the moment,” the Navy chief said.
“We have also kept close liaison with families of all on board. We are keeping them in the loop and informing them how the search is progressing,” he added.
The navy has pressed a flotilla of vessels including a submarine to locate the missing aircraft which went off the radar on Friday morning over the Bay of Bengal half an hour after take off from Chennai on its journey to Port Blair.
The aircraft, an upgraded AN-32 belonging to 33 Squadron, took off from Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai at 8.30 a.m. and was expected to land at Port Blair at 11.30 a.m.
The recorded transcript of Chennai air traffic radar showed the last pickup of the aircraft was 151 nautical miles east of Chennai when it was observed to have carried out a left turn with rapid loss of height from 23,000 feet.