An Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 plane with 29 people on board has gone missing over the Bay of Bengal amid inclement weather.
The plane took off from Tambaram in Chennai for Port Blair in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands when it lost radar contact around 8:45 am. Its estimated time of arrival in Port Blair was 11.30 am.
Reliable workhorse: that’s how experts describe Antonov-32, is a Russian-origin aircraft that has been in service with the Indian Air Force since 1984. Its design is based on the older AN-26, which first flew in 1969. About 250 AN-32s are in service around the world.
Aircraft are equipped with Weather Radars, that are able to detect adverse weather ahead – including precipitation, turbulence and windshear. It is common airmanship to fly out of bad weather. It is also common practice to divert or deviate when flying towards a storm. The same thing goes for turbulence.
Aircraft turbulence can be of many types — ranging from a light chop, that will spill your coffee, to heavy turbulence that will throw you and your luggage around. All aircraft are designed to flex up and down during flight, which helps absorbs moderate and even heavy turbulence without causing any damage to the air frame. Aircraft do not fall out of the skies due to turbulence, however, that doesn’t mean that it can never happen.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said efforts are on to trace the IAF AN 32 aircraft.
Tamil Nadu Coastal Security Group has deployed 12 fast moving interceptors from Chennai to Rameshwaram region to assist in search operations.
The aircraft can fly for up to four hours without refuelling.
A major search and rescue operation has been launched by the Indian Navy in the Bay of Bengal.
Indian Navy has launched one submarine for underwater detection of any transmission or signal of missing IAF aircraft AN-32.