Free Press Journal

Coast Guard launches massive search operation to locate missing aircraft


Chennai: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Tuesday said that the search for the missing Dornier Aircraft with three members on-board is underway in full swing, adding that eight ships and several aircrafts were being deployed for surveillance and search of the missing aircraft.

“A total of eight ships are undertaking surveillance and search of the missing aircraft. The search continues, the ships are looking for any indication of aircraft’s presence in the area….The search will continue to look for any indications of any survivors or the aircraft’s remnants if sighted,” Coast Guard Eastern Region Commander SP Sharma told mediapersons here.

Sharma said that the aircraft CG 791 got airborne from Coast Guard Air Station in Chennai at about 1805 hours (6.05 pm) yesterday evening.

“It was on a task in Park Bay and South Tamil Nadu coast. It finished its task and remained in touch with Coast Guard ship in the area and also with the ATC at Chennai airport. After finishing the task, the aircraft called up ATC at Madras airport saying that they were returning to the base. This happened at around 2101 hours (9.01 pm),” he said.

He said that no contact could be established with the aircraft, however, the radars at Chennai and Trichy picked up the aircraft till 2123 hours (9.23 pm).

“After this the aircraft was lost by both the radars. Since the aircraft was expected to return to base by 2230 hours (10.30 pm), the ATC tried to establish contact, however, the aircraft could not be reached…. At 2245 hours (10.45pm) ATC raised the alarm and informed it to Coast Guard Air Station…while launching the all the actions for overdue we waited for a call from the aircraft till 2330 hours (11.30 pm) when we launched aircraft missing procedures,” he said.

“Since then our activities are activated at our regional headquarters making use of all facilities…..However, no contact could be made with the aircraft nor could we pick it up on the radar. Realising this, another aircraft went to search the missing aircraft in the probable missing region, concurrently two ships were sailed from Karaikal and two ships from Chennai, Navy also diverted one of its ships towards parkway and two more ships in patrol were diverted towards the probable site of the aircraft having been lost,” he added. He said that the family members of the missing aircraft’s crew have been informed about the situation.