The Search and Rescue (SAR) efforts for the missing An-32 continued for the third consecutive day on Sunday with a total of 18 ships and 16 aircraft from Coast Guard, Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF). The weather improved marginally on Sunday aiding deployment of additional assets and intensification of the search in a larger area. However, with sea conditions remaining rough, the search efforts were challenging.
According to Coast Guard officials, ships have been tasked to search an area spanning 120 x 120 nm (nautical miles), while the aircraft were undertaking search in a much larger area of 300 x 360 nm.
“In addition, ships and aircraft from Andaman & Nicobar region are carrying out search in areas along the flight track from Chennai to Port Blair,” the Coast Guard said in a statement. “We are searching on a larger area,” a Coast Guard official told The Hindu. “Despite the prevailing rough conditions in the area and an overcast sky, all out efforts are being made to locate the missing aircraft,” a press release said.
Merchant vessels alerted
Meanwhile, merchant vessels transiting the area have also been asked to keep a “sharp lookout for any signs of the missing aircraft”.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who visited Chennai on Saturday had directed officers to keep the family members of all 29 personnel onboard updated regularly on the search efforts.
Following this the services have deputed officials to liaison and provide necessary support to the aggrieved families, officials said.