This file photograph taken on
September 6, 2014 shows an Indian air force AN-32 transport aircraft at
an air force base in Srinagar. ©AFP
air force plane with 29 passengers on board has gone missing over the
Bay of Bengal, prompting a search and rescue operation in the area.
Friday, India’s Defense Ministry said the air force has lost contact
with the military transport plane, which was on its way from the
southern city of Chennai to the coastal city of Port Blair.
scale search & rescue launched to look for IAF (Indian Air
Force) AN-32 overdue at Port Blair since 1130 hrs. Max assets being
deployed at earliest,” the ministry tweeted.
The last contact with
plane, which was carrying service personnel and six crew members, was
made around 15 minutes after take-off from Chennai at 8:30 a.m. local
time (0300 GMT), the Indian air force said.
No other details were immediately available. Indian media say AN-32s can fly for four hours without refueling.
country’s air force has a poor safety record. The South Asian nation
has been trying to develop own warplanes, but delays and technical
shortcomings have marred progress.
In one of the worst disasters,
20 people on board died while three civilians were burnt to death when
the plane crashed near a New Delhi airport in 1999.
In 2013, all 20 people on board a military helicopter were killed when it crashed in northern India.