Over a month after a Coast Guard aircraft disappeared off the Chennai coast, the search team recovered the skeletal remains and personal belongings of the three crew members on Monday night. With this, the massive search operation has been “terminated”.
PTI quoted Coast Guard, Eastern Regional Commander, Inspector General S P Sharma as saying that “eighty per cent of the aircraft’s parts have been retrieved, besides human bones and wrist watches.”
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Family members of the three crew members — pilot S Vidhya Sagar, co-pilot Subash Suresh and observer M K Soni — have reportedly identified the victims from the recovered items which include uniforms, watches and parts of an overall.
“We are also in consultation with the Tamil Nadu Forensic Sciences Department for confirming the identity of the crew members,” said Sharma, adding that the state forensics laboratory would conduct DNA tests to identify the remains before handing over the bodies.
The remains were brought to the Coast Guard station at Meenambakkam. “The parts of the aircraft, including the flight data recorder, recovered from a depth of 950 metres off the Chidambaram coast, will be sent for analysis. The analysis of the flight data recorder could provide vital inputs towards establishing the cause of the incident,” said Sharma. The aircraft went missing during a routine surveillance sortie on June 8. A massive search and rescue operation was carried out, with a total of eight ships and aircraft being been pressed into action. The Coast Guard had described the “Operation Talaash” as the “first ever salvage at such depths”.
(With PTI inputs)