Navy surveillance aircraft crashes off Goa coast; two missing

Panaji, March 25: An Indian Navy surveillance aircraft crashed south-west off Goa coast with two officers, including a woman, missing while one has been rescued.

The Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft, which was on a routine training sortie, lost contact with the Naval Air Station in Goa last night at 22:08 hours.

Goa: Navy surveillance aircraft crashes

"The aircraft is feared to have ditched soon thereafter. The aircrew onboard the aircraft comprised three officers (two Pilots and one woman Observer)," the Navy said in a statement.

One survivor, Commander Nikhil Kuldip Joshi, who was flying the aircraft and had 4,000 flying hours to his credit, was rescued about an hour later by a fishing vessel.

The crew used a toll-free helpline to contact the Navy's Maritime Operation Centre, which then sent an aircraft to collect the injured officer and move him to hospital Patanjali at Karwar.

He is reported to be stable though severely injured. The Indian Navy operates about 36 Dornier aircraft for search and rescue, maritime surveillance and other duties. This is the first loss of a Dornier since it was inducted in the Indian Navy in the early 90s.

8 Naval ships and 4 aircraft were immediately deployed to search the area

Eight Naval ships and four aircraft were immediately deployed to search the area to locate the remaining two officers.

Presently, there are 12 ships (including two ships from Indian Coast Guard) and four aircraft involved in the search and rescue operations. Sources said the two missing officers are of Lieutenant rank.

The woman officer, who is missing, was schduled to leave on her fresh posting to Visakhapatnam later this week, sources said, adding that the last known position of the dornier was 25 nautical miles south South West off Goa.

Meanwhile, a Board of Inquiry has been ordered to establish the cause of the accident. During the day, Navy chief Admiral RK Dhowan, flew down to Goa and took stock of the rescue operation.

He also met the families of the aircrew and met Joshi at Karwar before returning to Delhi in the evening.


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