An Indian Air Force An-32 transport plane carrying 29 people, mostly military personnel, enroute to Port Blair is missing after it took off on Friday morning.
More than twelve Navy and Coast Guard ships are searching for the aircraft in the Bay of Bengal. A submarine has also been dispatched to search for the missing aircraft.
Air Force spokesman, Anupam Banerjee, said:
“There was no emergency communication message received from the plane. There is nothing to suggest what exactly happened”.
The plane left the Tambaram Air Base near Chennai at 8.30 am and was expected to land at around 11.45 am. It disappeared from the Air Traffic Control radar at 9.12 am, 280 km east of Chennai.
“All efforts are being made to trace the missing plane and the service personnel on board,” said the Ministry of Defence in a statement.
The Indian Air Force was the launch customer of the An-32, which is, essentially, a re-engined An-26.
The An-32 is designed to withstand adverse weather conditions better than the standard An-26. The high placement of the engine nacelles above the wing allowed for larger diameter propellers, which are driven by 5,100 hp rated AI-20 turboprop engines, providing almost twice the power of the An-26’s AI-24 power plants.