Debris of Coast Guard aircraft strewn across sea bed

Chennai: Fragments of the Indian Coast Guard aircraft missing for over a month seem to strewn across the sea bed off the Tamil Nadu coast as per the search team, an official of the coastal security agency said on Saturday.

On Friday, the Coast Guard said it had found the missing aircraft's flight data recorder (FDR) known as the black box and the landing gear around 17 nautical miles from the nearest shore and approximately 20 nautical miles from Cuddalore.

The debris was located at a depth of around 950 metres.

"As per the signals parts of the missing aircraft seem to scattered over different locations on the seabed in the areas surrounding the spot where the black box and landing gear were located," a Coast Guard official told IANS preferring anonymity.

"The search for three crew members is also on. We are also searching for the aircraft part that has the cockpit," he said.

According to him, the cause of the crash could be ascertained only when the data in the black box is decoded by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

He said the depth was more in this part of the Bay of Bengal.

An official statement issued on Friday said submarine INS Sindhudhavaj picked up a barrage of transmissions at a depth of 996 meters on July 6, following which Reliance vessel MV Olympic Canyon was sent for localised search.

The Dornier aircraft with pilot Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar, co-pilot, Deputy Commandant Subash Suresh and navigator/observer M.K. Soni went missing on the night of June 8 while returning to base after a surveillance sortie along the Tamil Nadu coast and Palk Bay.

The aircraft, deployed for surveillance along the Tamil Nadu coast and Palk Bay, took off from Chennai airport on June 8 evening around 6 p.m. but did not return after the sortie.

An official statement said the last contact with the aircraft was made at 9 p.m. on June 8.

The last known location of the aircraft as per Trichy radar was off Karaikal in Puducherry, where it was tracked till 9.23 p.m., 95 nautical miles south of Chennai.

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