CHENNAI/NEW DELHI, July 22 - An AN 32 aircraft of the IAF, with 29 personnel on board, including four officers, today went missing over Bay of Bengal on its way from near Chennai to Port Blair, raising concerns over its fate.
A massive search-and-rescue operation has been launched by IAF, Navy and Coast Guard, deploying a submarine, eight aircraft and 13 ships for tracking the upgraded plane which made the last radio contact at 8.46 am, 16 minutes after take off from Tambaram air base.
�The plane is still missing. All efforts are being made to trace the plane and the service personnel travelling on board,� Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told PTI in the evening.
The 29 people on board the Air Force�s workhorse for a long period included six crew members, two of them pilots and a navigator. Besides, there were 11 personnel from the IAF, including an officer, two from the Army, one from the Coast Guard and 9 from the Navy.
�The plane, which was on a routine courier service, took off at about 8.30 am from Tambaram and it was scheduled to land at Port Blair at 11.30 am, but it is overdue,� IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Anupam Banerjee said. � PTI