An Indian Air Force (IAF) An-32 aircraft, which had gone missing over the Bay of Bengal on 22 July 2016, its debris has now been detected on the sea bed approximately, 140 nautical miles (310 Km) from the Chennai coast.
Ministry of Defence released a press statement on Friday (12 December) and said, "The National Institute of Ocean Technology which functions under the aegis of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, had recently deployed an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) with deep sea exploration capability at the last known location of the missing An-32."
It further states that the search was conducted at a depth of 3,400 m using multiple payloads, including a multi-beam SONAR (Sound Navigation and Ranging), synthetic aperture SONAR and high-resolution photography. Analysis of search images had indicated the presence of debris of the crashed aircraft on the sea bed.
"The search images were scrutinised and found to be conforming with an An-32 aircraft. This discovery at the probable crash site, with no other recorded history of any other missing aircraft report in the same area, points to the debris as possibly belonging to the crashed IAF An-32 (K-2743)," the statement concludes.
The incident occurred seven and a half years ago when the aircraft went missing during an op mission with 29 personnel on board. Large-scale search and rescue operations by aircraft and ships could not locate any missing personnel or aircraft debris.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!