Search ops on to locate AN-32: Parrikar conducts aerial survey

Chennai, July 23 : Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday conducted an aerial survey to monitor the search and rescue operations for the missing Indian Air Force (IAF) plane AN-32. He boarded an aircraft from Tambaram and was briefed by the IAF and Navy personnel before leaving for the aerial survey. Speaking to ANI, former Air Marshal A.K. Singh said the chances of survival have reduced significantly since the most crucial time has passed. A massive search and rescue operation has been launched by the IAF, Navy and Coast Guard, deploying one submarine, eight aircraft and 13 ships for tracking it. While IAF has pressed into service a C130 plane along with two AN32, the Navy has deployed two P8i maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft from the strategically important Port Blair, home to India's only tri-service command. Coast Guard has rushed four ships to the spot besides two dorniers. The Navy has also pressed into service two Dornier aircraft and 12 ships with the Eastern Fleet Commander on board for the search and rescue operation. Indian Navy PRO Captain D.K. Sharma yesterday said the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard are engaged in intensive search operations to locate the aircraft. The Russian built twin engine AN 32 aircraft had undergone an upgrade in Ukraine. However, what adds to the concern is the fact that this aircraft can only fly for up to four hours without re-fuelling.