New Delhi: The debris of an Indian Air Force (IAF) plane with 29 personnel onboard that went missing in 2016 while flying across the Bay of Bengal have been found by a search and rescue team on the sea bed after seven years, an official said on Friday.
An IAF official said that the debris of the ill-fated An-32 aircraft were spotted on the sea bed around 310 km off the Chennai coast.
The plane went missing over the Bay of Bengal on July 22, 2016 during a mission.
A large-scale search and rescue operations by aircraft and ships that was launched then could not locate any missing personnel or the aircraft debris.
The National Institute of Ocean Technology, which functions under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, recently deployed an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle with deep sea exploration capability at the last known location of the missing An-32.
The Ministry of Defence said the search operation were conducted at a depth of 3,400 metres using multiple payloads, including a multi-beam SONAR (Sound Navigation and Ranging), synthetic aperture SONAR and high resolution photography.
Analysis of search images had indicated the presence of debris of a crashed aircraft on the sea bed approximately 140 nautical miles (approximately 310 km) from the Chennai coast.
The IAF said that the search images were examined and found to be conforming with an An-32 aircraft.
This discovery at the probable crash site, with no other recorded history of any other missing aircraft report in the same area, points to the debris as possibly belonging to the crashed IAF An-32 (K-2743) said.