No concrete evidence about missing AN-32 plane: Parrikar
New Delhi : “Several inputs and leads” regarding floating objects have been picked up but there is no concrete evidence so far with respect to missing AN-32 aircraft of the IAF, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Lok Sabha today.
Making a suo motu statement on the disappearnce of the plane on July 22, he said the search efforts are focussed on the surface as well as the underwater domain to look for survivors and debris.
Giving details of the incident, Parrikar said the search for the missing plane is being supplemented by the use of indigenous satellites such as CARTOSAT 2A and 2B which have the ability to cover areas of the swath of 27×27 km and have a resolution of 0.8 metres.
“Several inputs and leads on floating objects an possible transmissions have been picked up from satellite imagery and air surveillance efforts. Each of these has been thoroughly investigated by ships and aircraft. However, no concrete evidence with respect to AN-32 has emerged, so far,” he said.
The Minister said all next of kin of the crew and passengers on board have been informed and regular updates on the search operations are being given to them by nominated officials. Officers from the closest units have gone and personally met the next of kin, he added.
13 ships of Navy and 4 ships of the Coast Guard and one submarine have been deployed in the search area, he said, adding all merchant vessels passing through the area have been asked to report any sighting.
“Based on inputs from all sources, areas of three oil slicks, five transmission intercepts and 22 floating objects have been thoroughly investigated by ships and aircraft, without any concrete evidence emerging with respect to the missing IAF AN-32 till date,” Parrikar said.
The 22 floating objects recovered have been determined as not related to the missing aircraft, he said.
An Indian Navy submarine is also currently undertaking search in the designated area, he added.