August 21, 2016
Chennai: Geological Survey of India’s research vessel, Samudra Ratnakar, has reportedly found suspected debris of the AN-32 aircraft. The debris were located at a depth of 3.5 kilometres.
An eight-member team has been searching for the missing aircraft from August 8 onwards, and had covered almost 4509 sq. km. so far. Following the finding, search in the nearby areas has been stepped up. Samudra Ratnakar is equipped with multi-beam echo-sounder, profiler, and a side scan sonar. Another vessel, Sagar Nidhi, belonging to the National Institute of Ocean Technology, was also deployed to search for the missing air plane.
IAF’s flight, AN-32, with 29 people on board, took off from Tambaram at 8.30 in the morning on July 22, and was headed to Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The plane went missing after it lost radar contact at around 8 45 a.m., 280 km east of Chennai. The aircraft had six crew members, nine navy personnel, 11 Air Force personnel, two army recruits, and a member of the Coast Guard on board.
Meanwhile, experts are yet to confirm if the debris indeed belong to the missing aircraft. They say that such debris can also be formed due to the movement of the under-sea tectonic plates.