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Sushma Swaraj's plane en route from India to Mauritius goes untraceable for 14 minutes

By Deepika

The VVIP aircraft "Meghdoot" carrying Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to Mauritius lost contact with Air Traffic Control for 14 minutes on Saturday afternoon after entering the country's airspace.

Sushma Swaraj

The Indian Air Force flight carrying Ms Swaraj departed from Thiruvananthapuram at 2:08 pm. However, after entering the Mauritius air space, the aircraft could not contact the Male Air Traffic Control (ATC) between 4:44 pm and 4:58 pm. But by then an alarm had already been sounded, the Airports Authority of India said in a statement.

The plane was traced after the Mauritius Air Traffic Control activated INCERFA, the code word for a situation where uncertainty exists regarding the the safety of an aircraft and its occupants.

Mauritius ATC activated lNCERFA (uncertainty phase) without allowing the stipulated time period of 30 minutes to lapse from the time when aircraft last contacted ATC. This was perhaps done because the flight was carrying VIP."

The flight eventually landed safely in Male and Swaraj proceeded with her engagements including a meeting with the Prime Minister of the island nation Pravind Kumar Jugnauth.

Swaraj is on her five-day trip to South Africa from Sunday where she will meet the top leadership of the country and attend meetings of BRICS and IBSA - the two major groupings where India has been playing a key role.

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