Chennai, June 14:
With Indian Navy’s submarine INS Sandhyak receiving some signals on its sonar, searchers expected some definite information by Sunday evening about an Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft which was reported missing last week, an officer said.
“Submarine INS Sandhyak has started its search in the area where the aircraft is suspected to have fallen,” a Coast Guard officer told IANS.
“By late evening today (Sunday), we should get some information on the missing aircraft,” he added.
An official statement said the search by the submarine began on Saturday to “confirm transmission of 37.5 khz from Sonar Locator Beacon (SLB) of the missing aircraft, as reported by INS Sandhyak on June 12”.
“The transmission is from around the position where the air traffic control radar lost contact with the aircraft on Monday night (June 8),” the statement added.
“In order to provide further fillip to the search, ICGS Vighraha has been put on the job along with a National Institute of Oceanography (NIOT) team and a black box detector,” said the statement.
The Coast Guard further denied television reports on the aircraft’s location under water.
The aircraft manufacturer would also be roped in to assist in knowing the reason(s) for its disappearance. Help was also sought from National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad.
The Dornier aircraft took off from Chennai airport around 6 p.m. on June 8 for a surveillance sortie but went missing on its way back.
The last contact with the aircraft was at 9 p.m. on Monday. Its last known location, as per Trichy radar, was off Karaikal in Puducherry where it was tracked till 9.23 p.m., 95 nautical miles south of Chennai.
In March, a Dornier-228 of the Indian Navy with three crew went down in the Arabian Sea off the Goa coast, killing two.
“We are conducting studies on the probable cause for the aircraft’s disappearance,” the official said.
“Unless we get its flight data recorder or get to see the missing aircraft’s fuselage, we cannot tell anything,” he said. He also said that tests on multi-colour oil sheen found in the sea turned negative.
The Coast Guard requested Reliance India Ltd to extend services of a multi-support vessel with remote-operated underwater vehicle for underwater search.
National Institute of Ocean Technology’s research vessel Sagar Nidhi was likely to arrive in the search area on June 14 to augment the search.
The missing Dornier had on board Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar as pilot, his co-pilot and Deputy Commandant Subash Suresh and navigator/observer M.K. Soni — all in their 30s. (IANS)