Dornier aircraft still missing; four ships pull out of search ops

Dornier aircraft still missing; four ships pull out of search ops

With the mystery around the missing ICG Dornier aircraft continuing, four ships, including the National Institute of Ocean Technology vessel Sagar Nidhi, have withdrawn from search operations on Wednesday. 

Despite ICG’s assertions that ships and aircraft are continuing the round-the-clock search 16 days after the Dornier with three crewmen on board disappeared, a vessel from Reliance Industries with cameras/remote operation systems left Kakinada without giving any concrete position of the aircraft. 

In a final bid to locate the Dornier, the Coast Guard has plans to use a high-tech vessel belonging to Indian Navy from Thursday. 

"It will arrive from Visakhapatnam. The ship will be equipped with high-tech system to detect transmission from the aircraft’s SONAR Locator beacon", a senior ICG official said.

The submarine pressed into search duties also failed to locate wreckages underwater. 

Officials suspect that the Dornier which went missing on June 8 could have crashed along the Chidambaram coast. 

In another hurdle to the search team, the transmission from the Sonar Locator Beacon (SLB) is also getting weaker. Though the SLB could transmit up to 30 days, officials say that the signals are weaker and more scattered. 

ICG sources said search aircrafts that flew for nearly 150 hours could not locate the Dornier. 

The "Dornier aircraft CG-791 deployed for surveillance along the Tamil Nadu Coast and Palk Bay from the Coast Guard station Chennai on June 8th evening failed to return base.

This is the second incident of a Dornier missing while deployed for night surveillance in the last three months. 

A Dornier belonging to the Navy crashed on March 26 off Goa coast. Two pilots, including a woman officer, were killed in the mishap while the main pilot was rescued. 

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