THE GOVERNMENT has sought help from the United States to confirm whether American satellites had picked up any signal before IAF’s AN-32 transport aircraft disappeared in the Bay of Bengal last Friday.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar informed Rajya Sabha that the government has asked the US for satellite imagery of the area where the aircraft went missing. “It is (a) total blank. There was not a single signal recorded. That is the reason we are contacting American defence forces to ascertain whether their satellites picked up any signal,” Parrikar said.
Replying to clarifications sought by members on his suo motu statement on disappearance of the aircraft on July 22, Parrikar also told the House that the possibility of sabotage in the incident. The Russian-made aircraft, which had undergone its first overhaul last year, was “comparatively very less”. He gave details of the search and rescue operations being carried out for the last one week in the area, which include a submarine and other specialist ships.
He said it was difficult to ascertain the cause of disappearance of the twin-engine aeroplane, which had 29 people on board and was heading from Chennai to Port Blair.