Scare as plane flying Sushma loses contact for 14 mins

Scare as plane flying Sushma loses contact for 14 mins

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. PTI file photo

An Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft flying External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to South Africa went incommunicado for 14 minutes, triggering a major scare after Mauritius Air Traffic Control (ATC) could not establish contact with the plane.

According to the AAI, the VIP Embraer-135 plane was not in touch with the Mauritius ATC for 14 minutes between 4:44 PM (IST) and 4:58 PM (IST) on Saturday. Sushma had left the country to attend BRICS and India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) ministerial meetings in South Africa.

Sushma had left Thiruvananthapuram on the IFC-31 plane at 2:08 PM for Mauritius. “Aircraft changed over from Indian airspace to Male ATC which then established contact with the aircraft at 1644 IST. However, IFC 31 could not contact Mauritius ATC,” an AAI statement said on Sunday.

It was then the Mauritius ATC activated INCERFA, which in aviation parlance means uncertainty phase where it is not known whether the aircraft and occupants are safe.

“Later at 1658 IST, IFC-31 came in contact with Mauritius ATC and landed,” it said.