Chennai/Nagpur: A naval survey ship has picked up signals from Indian Coast Guard’s Dornier aircraft, which went missing with three crew members on board on Monday night along the Tamil Nadu coast, announced the Ministry of Defence on Saturday.
ntense and sustained efforts to search and locate the missing Coast Guard aircraft have been continuing round the clock by ships of the Indian Coast Guard and the Indian Navy in areas of probability for the last 110 hours.
Ministry of Defence spokesperson Sitanshu Kar, on microblogging website Twitter, posted a few photographs of a multi-coloured sheen of oil in concentric circles, which indicated oozing of oil. The sample of oil has been sent to the laboratory for analysis.
“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 up to 30 days,” Inspector General SP Sharma, Commander, Coast Guard (East), Chennai, told a news agency.
“Further tests are being done to get a more precise location of the missing aircraft,” Sharma said, but did not elaborate.
‘Sandhayak’ began operations in the Karaikkal-Cuddalore coastline on the intervening night of June 11-12.
Twelve Coast Guard and Naval ships along with patrol boats of the Coastal Security group are involved in the search.
The transmission is around the position where the Air Traffic Control (ATC) radar had lost contact of the aircraft.
Submarine INS Sindhudhvaj is likely to arrive in the area late in the evening for further augmentation of sub-surface search.
The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) has diverted its research vessel ‘Sagar Nidhi’ and is likely to arrive in the area for augmenting underwater search by tomorrow.
The missing Dornier had on board Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar piloting the aircraft, his co-pilot and Deputy Commandant Subash Suresh and navigator/observer M.K. Soni — all in their 30s.
The missing aircraft was deployed for surveillance along the Tamil Nadu coast and over Palk Bay.
It took off from Chennai airport at around 6 pm on Monday (June 8) for a surveillance sortie but did not return.
An official statement issued on Tuesday (June 9) said the last contact with the aircraft was made at 9 pm on Monday.
The last known location of the aircraft, as per Trichy radar, was off Karaikal in Puducherry, where it was tracked till 9.23 pm, 95 nautical miles south of Chennai.
“The aircraft was the latest induction in the Coast Guard inventory in 2014 and was being flown by a highly experienced crew,” an official statement said.