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Chennai: The intensive search for an Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft, that went missing near Karaikal in Puducherry, continued for the third day on Thursday with no signs of the wreckage, an official said.

There was no information on the aircraft and the three-member crew missing since Monday night, a Coast Guard official told IANS.

He said that a naval submarine was also deployed in the search operation.

The Coast Guard has sought the Indian Space Research Organisation’s help to locate the missing aircraft with the help of its satellites.

According to the official, there was no update on test done on samples of oil floating in Karaikal sea – an area where search was being conducted.

The coastal security agency on Wednesday said that 15 highly specialized Coast Guard/naval ships and several patrol boats of coastal security group were involved in the search operation.

Air sorties too have been carried out to locate the missing aircraft.

Queried about tower signals of cellphones of the aircraft’s crew, a Coast Guard official told IANS that no such signals were received.

The crew included Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar piloting the aircraft, his co-pilot and Deputy Commandant M.K. Soni and navigator/observer Subash Suresh, all in their 30s.

The missing aircraft was deployed for surveillance along the Tamil Nadu coast and Palk Bay. It took off from Chennai airport around 6 p.m. on Monday for a surveillance sortie but did not return.

An official statement issued on Tuesday said that the last contact with the aircraft was made at 9 p.m. 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 p.m., 95 nautical miles south of Chennai.

“The aircraft was the latest induction in the Coast Guard inventory in 2014 and was being flown by highly experienced crew,” an official statement said.

The latest incident comes months after a Dornier-228 of the Indian Navy with three crew members went down in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Goa. (IANS)


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