The Indian Air Force on Thursday communicated to the kin of personnel on the missing AN-32 plane that those on-board have been presumed dead and search operations have ended.
Multiple aircraft and ships of the IAF, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard were scouring the waters in an area some 150 nautical miles east of Chennai, the last known location of the aircraft, braving high winds and choppy monsoon seas. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar was personally monitoring the situation and the search and rescue teams failed to obtain any leads. Families of the victims had repeatedly been contacting IAF officials hoping to get some information on the outcome of the searches.
On July 22, the ill-fated aircraft of the IAF, with 29 personnel on board, including four officers, had gone missing over the Bay of Bengal on its way from Chennai to Port Blair, soon after taking off from Tambaram air base.
The Indian Air Force claims it was in touch with the aircraft till about 9.30 am post which it could not establish contact. The ETA or expected time of arrival of the flight was 11.30 am. The Chennai ATC claimed it was in touch with the aircraft till 8.12 am.