A Russian built Twin engine turbo-prop transport aircraft, an AN-32, one of 100 the Indian Air Force (IAF) has in its fleet, is missing following take off fromTambaram airbase near Chennai, India for Port Blair, on an island in the middle of the Bay of Bengal.
Last contact was around 8.30 am on Friday morning. Including crew, some 29 people on board, the plane was scheduled to land around 11.20 am.
The Antonov AN-32 has been involved in 9 accidents so far, and consequently does not have a high safety rating. Bay of Bengal weather is traditionally difficult for aviators with just about every combination of thermals, vapour and mist hampering any visual search in the region by rescue craft.
The Indian Navy has now deployed a Dornier aircraft to search for the missing plane in and around Bay of Bengal. Four ships, Karmukh, Gharial, Jyoti and Kuthar have also been deployed in the area to search the plane. Other assets will also be deployed as the search widens says an IAF source.
With light fading, the latest search tally is given as thirteen ships, a submarine, and five aircraft deployed.
Over 100 Russian-made AN-32s are currently in service with the IAF. Significantly, if fully fuelled, it can fly for up to four hours, without refuelling.
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