On 7th day, still no sign of missing Coast Guard aircraft

Chennai, June 15 (IANS) The search for a missing Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft and its three-member crew continued for the seventh day on Monday with no concrete information so far about its location, an official said.

In a statement here on Monday, the Coast Guard said intense search for the missing aircraft continued for the seventh consecutive day.

“The submarine operations continued for detection of acoustic signal from the sonar locator beacon of the missing aircraft. Feeble/sporadic signals received are being reconfirmed by probe equipment of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) deployed aboard an ICG (Indian Coast Guard) ship,” it said.

According to the Coast Guard, research vessel ‘Sagarnidhi’ arrived in the area at 10 a.m. on Monday and was undertaking sub-surface search and seabed profiling for ascertaining the position of the missing aircraft.

The aircraft manufacturer was also being roped in to help ascertain the reason(s) for its disappearance, a Coast Guard official has told IANS.

The Dornier aircraft took off from Chennai airport around 6 p.m. on June 8 for a surveillance sortie but was reported missing on its way back.

The last contact with the aircraft was at 9 p.m. on last Monday. Its last known location, as per Trichy radar, was off Karaikal in Puducherry where it was tracked till 9.23 p.m., 95 nautical miles south of Chennai.

In March, a Dornier-228 of the Indian Navy with three crew went down in the Arabian Sea off the Goa coast, killing two personnel.

“We are conducting studies on the probable cause for the aircraft’s disappearance,” the official said.

“Unless we get its flight data recorder or get to see the missing aircraft’s fuselage, we cannot say anything,” he said. He also said that tests on multi-colour oil sheen found in the sea turned out to be negative.

The Coast Guard requested Reliance India Ltd to extend the services of a multi-support vessel with remote-operated underwater vehicle for underwater search.

The missing Dornier has on board Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar as pilot, his co-pilot and Deputy Commandant Subash Suresh and navigator/observer M.K. Soni — all in their 30s.

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