An Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 plane with 29 people on board has been missing for hours after it took off from Chennai on Friday morning.
According to NDTV report, the plane took off from the Tambaram air base near Chennai for Port Blair at 8.30 am. It was to have landed around 11.20 am.
"It was found missing. As of now, we will term it as overdue," said Navy spokesperson DK Sharma.
Officials say the last contact with the plane was around 15 minutes after take-off. It was a courier flight with mostly service personnel on board.
The plane has an emergency beacon locator, which usually gets activated if there is a crash.
A massive search operation has been launched by the air force, Navy and Coast Guard in the Bay of Bengal.
The Navy has sent five surveillance aircraft, including a Dornier, and 13 ships to the region at full speed. The ships are Sahyadri, Rajput, Ranvijay, Kamorta, Kirch, Karmuk, Kora, Kuthar, Shakti, Jyoti, Ghariyal and Sukanya.
There are more than 100 Russian-made AN-32s in service with the IAF. It is an aircraft that can fly for up to four hours without refueling and operate in all weather conditions.
"These aircraft are very strong, they are used as supply planes for mountains and deserts," said retired Air Force officer Praful Bakshi. (Courtesy : NDTV)