Chennai, July 22: The missing AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force reminds one of an equally tragic incident on June 8 when the Indian Navy lost one of its Coast Guard aircrafts-the Dornier, off the coast of Tamil Nadu.
A surveillance sortie, the plane was found in parts (off the Chennai coast) with human remains and belongings, 35 days after the search operations were launched. Its debris and the flight data recorders were located 950 meters under water.
What had happened?
The Dornier aircraft CG-791 was deployed for surveillance along the Tamil Nadu coast and Palk Bay from the Coast Guard Air Station, Chennai.
The aircraft went off-radar after its last contact at 9 pm even though the Trichy radar tracked it until 10:23 pm at 95 nautical miles South of Chennai.
A massive search operation was immediately launched by Indian warships and planes. Apart from an INS submarine, a total of eight ships and aircrafts had been pressed into action under Operation 'Talaash'. It was described by the Coast Guards as the "first ever salvage at such depths".
Reliance Industries vessel 'Olympic Canyon' and a submarine from National Institute Of Ocean Technology were also involved in the operation.
A Coast Guard statement said, "Indian Naval Submarine Sindhu Dhawaj, whilst on task for locating the missing aircraft, picked up a barrage of transmissions at a depth of 996 metres on July 6. This information was a vital source for deployment of the Reliance vessel, M/v Olympic Canyon, to localise the search."
(Pic courtesy: IAF website)