As the search for the missing Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft entered the fifth day, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said that “all leads till now have turned out to be bad”.
The aircraft disappeared en route to Port Blair from Chennai in the morning of July 22 with 29 personnel on board.
Parrikar said that the rescuers are trying to “concentrate on some links or sound which has emitted from some area”. The problem is that the search area needed to focus on has to be identified.
The search area was initially between 217 km from Chennai coast to 375 km. The exact area of the search was initially approximately 5000 square kilometers.
As one can see, the area has been expanded all the way from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh to Jaffna in Sri Lanka, almost 300 NM in length, and from Chennai to the middle of the Bay of Bengal, a distance of almost 360 NM.
While this area is being searched by both air and surface vessels, the area from Port Blair to the middle of the route to Chennai is being searched by surface vessels.
As experts have pointed out previously, an increase in search area reduces the chances of finding an aircraft.
Parrikar said that state of art ice-class research vessel, Sagar Nidhi, of the National Institute of Ocean Technology will be joining in the rescue efforts. Being a deep vessel it is better equipped to locate objects inside the sea. Yet Parrikar admitted that because the search area is not limited, the rescue mission is facing some difficulty.