The Indian Air Force AN 32 aircraft that went missing with 29 on board continues to be so, even as the search operations have intensified. It was a courier flight that went missing, and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar went to Chennai, and was briefed on the operation by Navy, Airforce and the Coast Guard.
In fact the courier aircraft left Tambaram air base on Friday at 8.30 am and should have ideally reached Port Blair at 11.45 pm. The aircraft fell out of the radar at 9.12 am, when it was 280 km east of Chennai, and since then there is no news or trace of it. The last that was heard was after 16 minutes of flying when the pilot reported that everything was alright.
One of the theories is that the plane that had six crew members and eight others (family members) may have plunged into sea from an altitude of 23,000 feet. However these are strong courier flights that do not have problem even when flown on the worst of the terrains like mountains and deserts. 12 Navy and Coast guard ships and a submarine have been commissioned to undertake the search operations. The Navy has also sent five surveillance aircrafts for the purpose, and hopes to track the underwater signals from the emergency beacon locator (inbuilt in the aircraft), which can be activated when there is a crash.