Missing Dornier aircraft located after 5 days

SansadTV Bureau

Image Courtsey: Indian Coast Guard website

Five days after a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft with three crew members went missing, a naval ship has picked up its location signals.

“INS Sandhayak has picked up signals from the missing aircraft. The signals were picked up from the aircraft which has Sonar Locating Beacon and it can transmit signals upto 30 days,” told Inspector General S P Sharma, Commander, Coast Guard (East), Chennai.

A massive search operation was launched after the Dornier aircraft went missing on June 8 along the Tamil Nadu coast. Multiple state and central agencies were involved in the operation.

INS Sandhayak, a survey vessel, used its underwater detection equipment to detect transmission from the Sonar Locator Beacon of the missing aircraft.

‘Sandhayak’ began operations in the Karaikkal-Cuddalore coastline on the intervening night of June 11-12. The ship’s sonar sent signals deep into the ocean and has picked up signals from the aircraft. Further tests are being done to get a more precise location of the missing aircraft,” Sharma explained.

The Dornier aircraft went off the Air Traffic Control radar at 9.23 PM on June 8. The aircraft was undertaking a night sortie as part of Coast Guard’s regular surveillance operations which looks “for suspicious activities” along the Tamil Nadu coast.

The 3 crew members of the CG-791 aircraft are said to be “highly qualified” and “well-trained.” It has been 5 days since Pilot Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar, Co-pilot Deputy Commandant M K Soni and Navigator Deputy Commandant Subash Suresh have been missing.

On Friday, a defence ministry official said, “Unrelenting efforts by Coast Guard and Naval ships/ aircrafts to locate the missing Dornier and crew continues. Interaction is also being maintained with the family members of the air crew, and are being apprised on the progress of the search operation.”