Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar visited the family of flight lieutenant Kunal Barpatte, who was navigating the Indian Air Force transport plane when it went missing, and reassured them that he was personally monitoring the situation.
Parrikar expressed his shock and sympathy to the parents of the officer. “I am shocked. This was one of the IAF’s safest and sturdiest aircraft. How can it go down? I am personally monitoring the situation,” he said as he spoke to Rajendra, the father of Kunal.
The minister said he had instructed Air Force officials to keep in touch with family members of all the crew of the ill-fated plane and provide updates on the search operation. Earlier, the parents had complained that despite their repeated efforts to get information after the news of the missing plane broke out, they did not receive a response from the Sulun base of IAF.
A tweet sent by one of the relatives addressing Parrikar led to official contact with the affected family after 30 odd hours. On July 22, the ill-fated aircraft of the IAF, with 29 personnel on board, including four officers, had gone missing over Bay of Bengal on its way from near Chennai to Port Blair. soon after taking off from Tambaram air base.