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Missing aircraft’s wreckage found, whereabouts of crew remain unknown

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

A large part of the wreckage of a missing Indian Coast Guard aircraft was recovered from the Bay of Bengal but there was no sign of its three crew members, the defence ministry said on Monday.

More than a month after it went missing on June 8, the aircraft’s wreckage was found at a depth of 990 metres 17 nautical miles southeast of Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, the ministry said in a statement issued here.

“Thirty-three days after the ICG aircraft went missing, its wreckage was found at the depth of 990 metres in position 17 NM S/E off Cuddolore, which included the flight data recorder, two engines, propellers, tail and tail cone, air frame parts, maevest, the single line replacement unit, parts of the fuselage, part of the landing gear and the cockpit voice recorder by the Reliance Vessel Olympic Canyon. The debris have been recovered from the sea bed by the vessel,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, there is no news of the front portion of the aircraft, including the cockpit, and the search for it continues.

The Dornier aircraft with deputy commandant Vidyasagar (pilot), deputy commandant Subash Suresh (co-pilot) and navigator/observer M.K. Soni went missing on the night of June 8 while returning to its base at Chennai airport after a surveillance sortie along the Tamil Nadu coast and Palk Bay.

Stating that there was no information on the missing crew, a senior official said chances of their survival, if any, would be “slim”.

An official statement said the last contact with the aircraft was made at 9 p.m. on June 8.

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.

Coast Guard officials said the flight data recorder of the aircraft is at present at Meenambakkam Air Station, Chennai, and it would be sent to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for decoding.

Officials said the data currently available was not sufficient to say why the plane crashed.

A statement from defence ministry said a major challenge in underwater search was the steep gradient of the seabed in the search area.

(With inputs from IANS)

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India and Japan to recreate 1999 scenario of Japanese hijacked ship

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Chennai:  The Indian and Japan coast guards would recreate the freeing in 1999 of a Japanese hijacked ship by Indian personnel, on the day of the Pongal festival on January 15, officials said on Sunday.

Though the vessel that was hijacked was different from the one that will be participating in the exercise named “Sahyog-Kaijin-XV”, it will be a sort of recreation of what happened in 1999, an official said.

According to a statement issued by the Indian Coast Guard, the association between the coastal security forces of the two nations dates back to 1999, when for the first time in maritime history a pirated ship was freed.

Japanese flagged ship MV Alondra Rainbow was hijacked by pirates off Indonesia and was repainted and renamed MV Mega Rama.

The vessel was sighted off Kochi, and freed by the Indian Coast Guard in the Arabian Sea after a hot chase.

The Indian Coast Guard said the joint exercise will be held in the Bay of Bengal off Chennai which would help in strengthening the working-level relationship between the two coastal security forces and refine joint operating procedures.

Japan coast guard ship Echigo will be visiting here during January 11-16.

According to the Indian Coast Guard, the highlight of the exercise would be the scenario of the hijacking of a merchant vessel and its subsequent rescue in a combined operation.

Helicopters of the Indian Coast Guard will be operated from the Japanese ship and vice versa, while there will also be cross-deck landing, interdiction of the pirate vessel, cross-boarding, steam-past and external firefighting.

(Inputs from IANS)

(Picture Courtesy: www.newsx.com)

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