Chennai: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today in Tambaram reviewed the search operations of the AN-32 aircraft that went missing with 29 people on board on Friday.
After being briefed on the difficult conditions under which the rescue operations were being conducted in the last 24 hours, Parrikar directed all commanders to utilise maximum resources for the search operation.
The minister also ordered officials to ensure constant communication with the kin of those on board and to provide them with all forms of assistance.
Meanwhile, sources in the ministry told India Today Television that chances of tracing the survivors appears bleak. The sea is 3000 metres deep whereas rescue operators said they were only capable of searching till 500 metres. Till now, 18 coast guard ships have been deployed to carry out the operation.
Also, there were no islands close to the region where the incident took place. Sources also said that if the plane had crashed, it would have moved hundreds of miles below the sea due to high pressure.Thick cloud cover and poor visibility are obstructing the search operations.
A massive search operation was launched after a Port Blair-bound Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft went missing yesterday. A Coast Guard official confirmed that there were no sightings of any aircraft debris in the Bay of Bengal.
Sources said that the Coast Guard were working towards retrieving the aircraft by Saturday morning. However, due to the hostile terrain the aircraft was not able to be located. A reported submitted to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar stated that according to recorded transcript of Chennai air traffic radar the last pick up was some 151 nautical miles east of Chennai. The aircraft was observed to have taken a left turn following a turbulence after losing a height form 23,000 feet. Search area has been widened from 50 nautical miles to 75 nautical miles.