Missing IAF AN-32: Over 250 hours of aircraft sorties flown, says Navy Chief Lanba
New Delhi, July 25 : With the massive search operations over the missing Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft entering its fourth day today, Chief of Navy Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba said here that all the family members of the 29 people onboard the plane are being kept in the loop regarding the operations, asserting that the search was ongoing. Speaking to ANI here, the Naval Chief said that there was a coordinated search going on between the Indian Navy, the IAF and the coast guard "There are a total of 17 ships, 13 from the Navy and four from the Air Force including 17 to 18 aircrafts carrying out a coordinated search. Search areas have been designated. Over 250 hours of aircraft sorties have been flown," he said. The Admiral further said that they have received image inputs from satellite images plus also the sensors of the aircraft, adding that all leads have been followed. "It's an ongoing search at the moment. We also kept a close liaison of the family members of those who were onboard the ship and we are keeping them in the loop," he said. Meanwhile, the search operation for the missing aircraft, code named "Operation Talash," continues for the fourth day today in the Bay of Bengal. An international safety network has been activated to alert the merchant ships passing by the zone of search operation to look out for any survivors or the debris. The Andaman and Nicobar Command of the defence forces are keeping a watch for it even beyond the search zone. As part of the procedure, a formal complaint about the missing aircraft has been registered with the Selaiyur police station in Chennai by the Air Force authorities. India's largest ever search operation over the sea to trace the missing twin-engined AN32 aircraft is getting imageries of the search area from the ISRO through its radar imaging satellite RISAT. The Indian Mission Control Centre of the space agency responsible for Satellite Aided Search and Rescue in the region is supplementing the Operation Talash by offering its services. However, no clues on the whereabouts of the aircraft are yet known and the sharp look out continues unabated.