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Satellites provide pointers, but no signs of Indian Air Force aircraft yet

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IAF AN-32 maximum speed is 530Kmph. Image Source: Indian Express
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  • The missing aircraft, an upgraded AN-32 belonging to 33 Squadron, took off from Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai at 8.30 a.m on Jul 22
  • Indigenous satellites have provided some pointers and ships are searching the indicated area, but nothing has been spotted
  • There is a possibility that in the Bay of Bengal there are several whirlpools that may have dragged down the debris

CHENNAI/NEW DELHI: An Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft which disappeared on Friday with 29 people on board remained missing on Sunday, July 24, despite an intensive search and rescue operation, codenamed ‘Operation Talash”, and some pointers were provided by indigenous satellites.

A senior defence ministry official said indigenous satellites have provided some pointers and ships are searching the indicated area, but nothing has been spotted.

The navy has pressed a flotilla of vessels including a submarine to locate the missing AN-32 which went off the radar two days ago over the Bay of Bengal just half hour after taking off from Chennai on its journey to Port Blairr.

There has been no trace of the plane or debris. There are also no signals from the transporter, officials said.

According to Indian Coast Guard, an international safety network was activated as part of the search and rescue procedures for alerting the merchant ships passing through the region.

The Coast Guard said ships like MV Harsh Vardhana enroute from Port Blair to Chennai, MV Sebat and MV Delice were directed to keep a sharp look out for survivors or debris.

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An experienced pilot of the Indian defence forces told IANS: “Normally it would take a week for the debris to float in such cases. But search and rescue operations have to be carried out.”

According to him, if the plane broke into several parts, then there may be a possibility of some debris floating.

But if it falls into the sea without breaking, then it may take nearly a week for some items to come to the surface from the sea depth.

“As per our calculations, the sea depth in the area of search is around 3,500 metres,” T.M. Balakrishnan Nair, Head, Information Services Group, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), told IANS over phone from Hyderabad.

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He said the organisation was running models estimating the distance to where the plane debris would have been carried by the sea current.

“In the Bay of Bengal there are several whirlpools that may have dragged down the debris,” he added.

Eastern Naval Command chief Vice Admiral H.C.S. Bisht said that a large number of ships, helicopters and aircraft are contributing to the search.

“We are also seeking ISRO’s help to get satellite imagery of that area so that we have at least some information… Parallelly we are also reaching out to families,” he said.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, after reviewing the search and rescue operations on Saturday, had asked the commanding officers to keep in touch with families of those on board the missing aircraft.

Bisht said the search has been made difficult by the monsoon weather conditions over the sea.

“The only challenge we are facing is of monsoon condition, rough seas; another challenge is the depth which is around 3,500 meters and at some points even more than that,” he said.

The cloud base is low and it is raining continuously in the area, he said.

“We are continuously searching the area. As of now we have 12 ships. We will be increasing the assets. We are also doing regular aerial surveillance. The aim is to harness as many resources as possible.”

The missing aircraft, an upgraded AN-32 belonging to 33 Squadron, took off from Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai at 8.30 a.m. and was expected to land at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at 11.30 a.m.

The recorded transcript of Chennai air traffic radar showed the last pickup of the aircraft was 151 nautical miles east of Chennai when it was observed to have carried out a left turn with rapid loss of height from 23,000 feet.

The AN-32 is a twin engine turboprop, medium tactical transport aircraft of Russian origin. It can carry a maximum load of around 6.7 tonnes or 39 paratroopers. Its maximum cruise speed is 530 kmph. (IANS)

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President Ram Nath Kovind Pays His Condolences to Former UN Chief Kofi Annan

Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN in 2001 "for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world".

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India condoles former UN chief Kofi Annan's death.
India condoles former UN chief Kofi Annan's death. Flickr

India on Saturday condoled the death of former UN Secretary General and Nobel laureate Kofi Annan with President Ram Nath Kovind expressing his condolences to the former Ghanaian diplomat’s family and the UN community as a whole.

“Sorry to learn of the passing of former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan,” Kovind said on the Rashtrapati Bhavan Twitter handle.

“My condolences to his family and to the UN community,” he stated.

Annan, 80, died on Saturday in Switzerland after a short illness, with his wife and three children by his side.

“It is with immense sadness that the Annan family and the Kofi Annan Foundation announce that the former Secretary General of the UN and Nobel Peace Laureate, passed away peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness,” his family said.

Kofi Annan
Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. Flickr

Annan was the first black African to take up the role of the world’s top diplomat, serving two terms from 1997 to 2006. He later served as the UN special envoy for Syria, leading efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

He also led a UN commission to investigate the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar.

The Myanmar government led by Aung San Suu Kyi supported Annan’s recommendations on the crisis in the country’s Rakhine State.

Also Read: New AI Model to Identify the Risk of Heart Disease in Indians

Annan was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the UN in 2001 “for their work for a better organised and more peaceful world”.

His tenure as the UN chief coincided with the Iraq war and the HIV/Aids pandemic. (IANS)