Indian Air Force plane with 29 on board goes missing

An Indian Air Force transport plane with 29 personnel on board went missing over the Bay of Bengal Friday and a search was launched, officials said.

The Antonov-32 aircraft had taken off from the southern city of Chennai in the morning and was heading for Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The aircraft departed around 8:30 am (0300 GMT) and was to have landed some three hours later, air force spokesman Anupam Banerjee said.

Officials said the last contact with the plane was around 15 minutes after take-off.

A search operation was launched by the Indian Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard around the island group, located some 1,200 kilometres off the Indian mainland in the Bay of Bengal.

Navy spokesman DK Sharma said five maritime reconnaissance aircraft and an equal number of ships were deployed to carry out search and rescue operations.

"A very, very unfortunate news is coming out that one of our aircraft bound for Port Blair, has not reached there yet. It is missing. We will term it overdue," he said.

"The Navy has launched full-scale SAR (search and rescue mission). We hope for the best".

The aircraft can fly for up to four hours without refuelling. They have an emergency beacon locator, which usually gets activated if the aircraft crashes, broadcaster NDTV reported.

Antonov transports have been a mainstay of the Indian military. The Indian Air Force operates 100 of the planes.

Last update: Fri, 22/07/2016 - 17:48

More from World

All 2,775 stranded tourists rescued from storm-hit Indian islands

A fleet of ships and helicopters evacuated 2,775 tourists, including many foreigners, stranded due to a cyclonic...

US commits 200 more troops to Syria

The United States is to send another 200 troops to Syria, Defence Secretary Ash Carter said Saturday, bringing the...

Opposition candidate wins Ghanaian elections with nearly 54 per cent

Ghanaian opposition candidate Nana Akufo-Addo ousted President John Dramani Mahama in this week’s presidential...

Britain's Johnson expresses understanding for Saudi strikes in Yemen

Greater efforts need to be made to find a political solution to the conflict in Yemen, British Foreign Minister...

56 reported killed in twin suicide blasts in Nigeria

Some 56 people were killed Friday in north-eastern Nigeria when two female suicide bombers detonated explosives at a...