The probe is in process for the missing ‘AN-32’ aeroplane with 29 people on board that went missing on Friday morning.
“No sightings of the aeroplane was found in the Bay of Bengal”, said an official of Indian Air Force (IAF).
“The search is going on. If there is any substantial development it will be made known,” Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee, Public Relations Officer for IAF told.
“Only a catastrophic accident in a “no talk/radio zone” or “dead zone” could destroy an aircraft suddenly,” an experienced pilot with the Indian defence forces told IANS late Friday.
In the aeroplane, there were around six crew members, 15 personnel from the IAF, army, navy and Coast Guard and also eight civilians.
“The aircraft AN-32, took off from Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai at 8.30 am and it was expected to land Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at 11.30 a.m”, officials said.
According to a report submitted to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar by Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, “Last pickup of the aircraft was 151 nautical miles east of Chennai, when the aircraft was observed to have carried out a left turn with rapid loss of height from 23,000 feet.”
Just after the incident, a massive search operation was conducted. Moreover, a submarine was launched immediately to find the plane that went missing around 300 km off Chennai.
“The last contact with the aircraft was established roughly around 15-20 minutes after the take-off”, sources said.
According to IAF, “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 tonne or a 39 paratroopers.”
“Planes are designed to fly even during an emergency. There will be reaction time to the pilots facing an emergency to send out messages for help or turn towards safety,” an Indian defence forces pilot told IANS.
According to the pilot, an AN-32 aircraft will not drop down like a stone or vanish into thin air in the case of normal emergency, as there will be reaction time.
“But in the case of a catastrophic threat, the pilots will not have the necessary reaction time,” he added.
“If the distance to be travelled is around 1,500 km for instance and travel path involves flying over sea then there are chances that the aircraft could not be in the radar from the city of departure after say around 300 km. And it would come into the radar on the other side only when it is around 300 km from its destination,” he said.
“So effectively sometimes there will be a dead zone of 700 km. In smaller aircraft, the pilots switch on to the high frequency for being in touch,” the pilot added.
He said, “The possibilities of different catastrophic events happening in the sky cannot be ruled out.”
“The storm will throw the plane like a stone,” he said.
He further added, “there have been instances when an airplane that was flying at around 35,000 feet altitude dropped down to 5,000 feet but regained control after that.”