Chennai: A transport plane of the Indian Air Force with 29 people on board went missing on Friday while flying from Chennai to Port Blair.
The AN-32 aircraft took off at 08:30 hours from Tambaram in Chennai and the last contact with it was made 16 minutes later, defence sources said. It was 28 kilometres east of Chennai over the Bay of Bengal when it fell off the radar.
Radar contact was lost after the aircraft made an extreme turn and descended rapidly from 23,000 feet, officials said.
Carrying strategic personnel stationed near the Malacca Straits where India has a military base, the aircraft was supposed to reach Port Blair around 11:30 am.
“Full-scale search & rescue launched to look for IAF AN 32 overdue at Port Blair since 1130 hrs. Max assets being deployed at earliest,” the defence ministry tweeted.
The Indian Coast Guard diverted at least four vessels in the Bay of Bengal to carry out search and rescue operations.
Five surveillance aircraft, including a Dornier, are looking for the plane. A dozen warships, Sahyadri, Rajput, Ranvijay, Kamorta, Kirch, Karmuk, Kora, Kuthar, Shakti, Jyoti, Ghariyal and Sukanya, have also set sail to look for the craft more