No clue on missing Coast Guard aircraft

No clue on missing Coast Guard aircraft

Despite the expanding fleet of ships and aircrafts searching for the high-tech Dornier aircraft belonging to the Coast Guard, no clue had emerged on the plane’s whereabouts.

The aircraft has been missing since Monday evening when it flew out on a routine surveillance of the Tamil Nadu coastline and was reportedly piloted by an experienced crew.
More Navy ships were deployed in the search operations on Wednesday, even as families of the three crew members awaited news on their fate.

Coast Guard sources said 15 highly specialised Coast Guard/Naval ships and several other patrol boats of coastal security group were involved in the search operation.
The fear that the Dornier aircraft could have crashed into the sea prompted the search team to call for a submarine from Visakhapatnam to search underwater, while  ten diving experts arrived here to help the team.

“We are searching in all probable areas according to the inputs we received, but we have not got any accurate clue as of now,” Indian Coast Guard Director General S C S Bisht, who is camping here to monitor the rescue, said.

Bisht said the search team had located a patch of oil spill, which was sent for testing.
He said he met with the family members of the missing crew. “we told them that the search could be lengthy at times, but they should not lose hope,” he said.

To a question on the recent Dornier crash off Goa, Bisht said the depth there was not much and it was therefore easier to locate the aircraft.

“This area, the probable area which we are looking into is much deeper. The depth is around 600-700 meter. So I cannot give you a definite time frame. But, yes we will continue our search and rescue operation until we find something,” he said.Noting that the aircraft was completely new, he said it was inducted in 2014 after proper inspections and it was in good condition.

Thousands of fishermen along the coastline have been briefed on the missing aircraft and drafted into the search operations.

Meanwhile, family members of Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar, who piloted the aircraft, arrived in Chennai from Andhra Pradesh. Coast Guard authorities were also in touch with Deputy Commandant M K Soni, the aircraft’s co-pilot from Bhopal, and Deputy Commandant Subash Suresh, the navigator and observer from Chennai.

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