1 month and on, missing Dornier’s fate remains a mystery

Wednesday, Jul 8, 2015,20:09 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Chennai | Exactly one month has passed and  a breakthrough in the missing of the Indian Coast Guard’s dornier aircraft with three crew members has proved to be still elusive with it fate still remaining a mystery.
Though Coast Guard, Navy and other agencies were continuously conducting searches, there was no clue as to how it went missing. One of the family members of the three crew members expressed dissatisfaction over the search efforts and wanted to seek international assistance.
The three crew members, all Deputy Commandants — Pilot Vidyasagar from Andhra Pradesh, Co-Pilot Subash Suresh from Chennai and Navigator or Observer as being called in Naval parlance M K Soni of Bhopal — were highly experienced flyers and were on board when the aircraft went missing.
The father of Mr Soni, who has been camping in New Delhi hoping for an  appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar, sought Mr Modi’s intervention. In a letter circulated to the media, he said the missing of Dornier aircraft should never remain a mystery and urged the Prime Minister to take steps to trace it.
Meanwhile, mother of Subash Suresh, Ms Padma Sankari, expressed displeasure over the search operations and wanted the Government to seek International help.
What has heightened the anxiety was the life of the black box battery was only for one month after which it would be very difficult to pick up signals.
Coast Guard sources said they were in touch with Sri Lanka as part of the search operations. During the month long operation, the CG sighted a multi-coloured sheen of oil in concentric circles which indicated oozing of oil.  But the oil samples sent to laboratory for analysis showed that it was not aviation fuel.
The INS Sandhayak, which undertook sub-surface search, had detected intermittent transmission of 37.5 khz, likely to be from the SLB of the missing aircraft.The transmission was around the position where the Air Traffic Control (ATC) Radar has lost contact of the aircraft, but that signal too was not regular.
The Navy Submarine, INS Sindhudhavaj, was also deployed for further augmentation of sub-surface search.A Multi Support Vessel (MSV) with Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle for underwater operations, along with ten CG and Naval ships with two aircraft had been searching but without success.
The missing of the plane on June eight was the second incident involving Dornier aircraft that crashed into the sea during night flying in past three months. Earlier, a naval Dornier had crashed off Goa Coast on March 26 resulting in death of two pilots, including a woman officer while the main pilot of the aircraft was rescued.
The last contact with the aircraft was about 2100 hrs on the night of June eight and Trichy Radar tracked the aircraft till 2123 hrs in position 95 nm south off Chennai, off Karaikal, the Coast Guard had said.