No trace of missing Indian Air Force aircraft with 29 people on board

There was no sighting yet of any aircraft debris more than 24 hours after an Indian Air Force plane with 29 people on board went missing over the Bay of Bengal, a coastguard official said Saturday.

The Antonov-32 transporter took off from the southern city of Chennai Friday morning on a three-hour flight to Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

It lost touch with air traffic control about 15 minutes after its take off from the Tambaram Air Force station in Chennai, air force spokesman Anupam Banerjee said.

A massive search operation involving more than 15 navy and coastguard vessels, a submarine and Indian Air Force aircraft has been ongoing since Friday.

“We have not been able to locate anything yet,” said the coastguard official, who did not give his name.

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parikker on Saturday reached Chennai to monitor the search. He also took an aerial survey of the area where the aircraft is thought to have disappeared.

The people on board included six crew members, 15 personnel of the army, navy and coastguard, and eight civilians who were family members of these personnel.

The Indian Air Force has more than 100 Russian-made AN-32s in service. The aircraft can fly for up to four hours without refuelling.

Last update: Sat, 23/07/2016 - 13:18

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