Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday said there were no concrete evidence with respect to the missing Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft AN-32, adding that the current search operations were focused on the surface and underwater domain to look for the survivors and debris.
“The current search operations are focused on the surface and underwater domain to look for the survivors and debris. There is no concrete evidence with respect to the missing Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft so far,” Parrikar said in the Lok Sabha.
The search and rescue operations to locate the missing aircraft by ships and aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), Navy and the Air Force continued for the seventh consecutive day today.
As many as 11 air sorties (three ICG, three Navy, five IAF) were also planned today for sea-air coordinated search.
Also, 13 ships which include four ICG and nine Navy with four embarked helicopters and one submarine were carrying out the search in designated areas.
Parrikar yesterday said some objects were located, adding the ships were asked to check the same. An international safety network has been activated to alert the merchant ships passing by the zone of search operation to look out for any survivors or the debris.
The Andaman and Nicobar Command of the defence forces are keeping a watch for it even beyond the search zone. As part of the procedure, a formal complaint about the missing aircraft has been registered with the Selaiyur Police Station in Chennai by the IAF authorities.
India’s largest ever search operation over the sea to trace the missing twin-engined aircraft is getting imageries of the search area from the ISRO through its radar imaging satellite RISAT.
The Indian Mission Control Centre of the space agency responsible for Satellite Aided Search and Rescue in the region is supplementing the operation by offering its services.
Seventeen naval and Coast Guard ships are mounting day-and-night watch and various military aircraft have made 28 sorties over the search zone till Sunday evening.
However, no clues on the whereabouts of the aircraft are yet known.