No signs of missing IAF plane on sixth day too, search goes on

Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu)/New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) The search for the missing Indian Air Force’s (IAF) AN-32 transport aircraft, that went missing on July 22 with 29 people on board from over Bay of Bengal, entered its sixth day on Wednesday with no confirmed signs of it, said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

Speaking to the media in Rameswaram, Parrikar said some objects have been found in the sea and are being examined to ascertain whether they are a part of the missing aircraft.

“There is no confirmed report, but there are some objects located. The ships have been asked to verify them. Unless something is positively located, it cannot be confirmed. As of now, it is only an indicator. We are not leaving anything to chances. So, we have asked the ships to check up,” he said.

A few leads found earlier proved to be wrong, and so far there has been no signs of any debris from the aircraft.

Sources said surveillance aircrafts and satellite images are being scanned for floating metallic objects, oil lines, and also for possible signals coming from the aircraft.

Meanwhile a senior Coast Guard official told IANS that search for the missing plane is continuing, and the Sagar Nidhi vessel belonging to National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) will soon join the search operations.

There are no traces of any oil slick that could have come from the aircraft, he said, adding that the sea depth in the area of the search is around 3,500 metres and if the aircraft is found, its recovery will not be a problem.

In New Delhi, Indian Air Force (IAF) spokesperson Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee said the search will continue but admitted that there were no signs of the aircraft so far.

The plane with 29 people on board went missing shortly after taking off from Chennai for Port Blair.

The recorded transcript of air traffic radar showed the last pick up of the aircraft was 151 nautical miles east of Chennai when it took a left turn with rapid loss of height from 23,000 feet.



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