Reliance helps coast guard in first deep sea mission

Human remains and missing aircarft parts recovered after thirty five days

GN Staff | July 15, 2015


#coast guard   #chennai   #reliance industries   #navy   #submarine   #aircraft  

With the help of a private company, the coast guard was able to retrive human reamins and aircarft parts after thirty five days.

A coast guard aircraft on a surveillance sortie had disappeared off the Chennai coast with three crew June 8. A massive search operation was mounted by Indian warships and planes for the missing aircraft and crew comprising pilot S Vidhya Sagar, co-pilot Subash Suresh and observer M K Soni soon after it had gone off the radar. Along with a submarine, a total of eight ships and aircraft had been pressed into action during 'Operation Talaash', described by coast guard as "first ever salvage at such depths".

On July 11, its debris and the flight data recorder (FDR) were located 950 metres under water. Reliance Industries vessel 'Olympic Canyon' and a submarine from National Institute Of Ocean Technology were involved in the operation. Olympic Canyon is equipped with Echo Sounder and remotely operated underwater camera with projector lights which enable it to conduct underwater search besides capturing the video footage of the area.

"Eighty per cent of the aircraft's parts have been retrieved, besides human bones and wrist watches from the sea bed," I G Coast Guard S P Sharma said in Chennai on Tuesday. The search operation was "terminated" Monday night.

The authorities have called the families of the crew for carrying out DNA tests for identification of the deceased and collecting the remains and personal effects.

The coast guard was in consultation with the Tamil Nadu Forensic and Science Laboratory to carry out the DNA tests.

The FDR is likely to provide crucial data that could help ascertain the cause of the accident. Sources in the coast guard said the fact that the components were found "at a phenomenal depth" confirmed that the aircraft had crashed into the sea and also pointed to the severity of the crash.

"Indian Naval Submarine Sindhu Dhawaj, whilst on task for locating the missing aircraft, picked up a barrage of transmissions at a depth of 996 metres on July 6. This information was a vital source for deployment of the Reliance vessel, M/v Olympic Canyon, to localise the search," a statement of the agency said.

The Dornier aircraft CG-791 was deployed for surveillance along the Tamil Nadu coast and Palk Bay from the coast guard air station, Chennai. The last contact with the aircraft was at about 9 pm on June 8, and the Trichy radar tracked the aircraft until 10.23 pm at 95 nautical miles south of Chennai.

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