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Steps taken to prevent recurrence of AN-32 mishap: Air Chief

The Air Force Has Taken A Series Of Measures To Prevent Recurrence Of Mishaps Involving AN-32 Aircraft, One Of Which Had Gone Missing Last Year With 29 People Onboard, Said Air Chief B S Dhanoa.

PTI | Updated on: 03 Mar 2017, 09:05:37 PM
Steps taken to prevent recurrence of AN 32 mishap says Air Chief


The Air Force has taken a series of measures to prevent recurrence of mishaps involving AN-32 aircraft, one of which had gone missing last year with 29 people onboard, said Air Chief B S Dhanoa.

Despite a co-ordinated search involving the Navy and the Coast Guard, the Russian-made aircraft could not be found as it did not have underwater locator, he told reporters at the IAF Station in suburban Tambaram.

He also blamed "limited visibility" under the waters of the "vast ocean" of Bay of Bengal, where the AN-32 went missing with 29 persons onboard on July 22, 2016 while flying from Chennai to Port Blair. All the 29 persons on board have been "presumed dead."

However, measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents, especially in this sector were being taken, Dhanoa said while describing the AN-32 as a "workhorse". "We have introduced additional seats in the charter (flights) to Car Nicobar so that we are carrying mainly load (only) in AN-32 and the passengers are carried by the charter. Courier flights are going to be introduced for personnel," he said.

Incidentally, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had earlier reportedly decided to stop using its AN-32 aircraft for ferrying its personnel. The Air Chief Marshal recalled that an extensive search was undertaken, with Naval and coast guard ships, besides submarines and specialised vessels being deployed for the purpose.

Satellite images had also been used while commercial ships and fishing vessels were "alerted" about visual sighting, he said. "But nothing has been found about the AN-32 aircraft," Dhanoa said. Modern aircrafts were fitted with underwater locator but the AN-32 did not have it, he said. On the "reason" behind the mishap, Air Marshal S R K Nair, Air Officer Commanding in Chief, Training Command, said that a Court of Inquiry (CoI) had probed the incident in "great detail".He said that after losing the the AN-32 "we could not get any evidence because the aircraft could never be found".

"The aircraft went down probably due to weather conditions leading to icing (caused by super cooled water droplets) and icing leading to jamming of the controls (following which) the aircraft went into an uncontrolled spiral and went into the sea," Nair said. "I once again emphasise, these are conjectures. There is no evidence," he added.

Dhanoa also said that the IAF had requested the Tamil Nadu government for allotment of land to increase the length of the runway at the station here. He recalled the IAF's extensive operations to help people marooned during the 2015 deluge in the city. 

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First Published : 03 Mar 2017, 09:00:00 PM

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Air Force AN-32