Chennai | The debris of the missing Coast Guard Dornier aircraft and its Flight Data Recorder were found today at a depth of 950 metres under the sea in Tamil Nadu after 33 days of intensive searches involving multiple government agencies.
The Defence Ministry said it was unique and first ever salvage at such level. The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) could provide vital inputs towards establishing the cause of the incident. This is a major accomplishment to the unprecedented search operation which was launched about month back, a defence ministry release said here.
Debris located in position 17 NM from nearest land and approx 20 NM SE of Cuddalore in 950 m depth, Defence Ministry Spokesperson Sitanshu Kar tweeted. Earlier, Coast Guard Inspector General Satya Prakash Sharma said that the debris of the aircraft and the FDR were found along the Chidambaram-Cuddalore coastline.
The release said Indian naval Submarine Sindhudhvaj, while on redeployment for locating the missing aircraft, picked up a barrage of transmissions at a depth of 996 metres on July 6. This information was a vital source for deployment of the Reliance vessel, MV Olympic Canyon to localise the search, it said.
Consequently, the unrelenting and uninterrupted search, which included 693 hours of surface effort and 196 hours of air effort, finally yielded positive results. The Multi-functional Support Vessel of Reliance India with integrated Remotely Operated Vehicle was able to locate and recover the FDR and one Line Replacement Unit from the depth of 950 metres.
The Dornier aircraft with three crew members on board took off from Chennai on June 8 on a routine surveillance flight. It was last tracked 16 km off Chidambaram coast in Thiruchirapalli by radar at 9:23 pm. An intensive search involving aircraft, ships of the Coast Guard, Navy and several other government agencies including the Coastal Security Group of Tamil Nadu Police, was carried out for weeks together.
The family members of those on board the Dornier had urged the Defence Ministry and Coast Guard authorities to speed up the search and end the uncertainty surrounding the disappearance of the aircraft and its crew.
Subscribe to our email newsletter.