Debris of IAF aircraft lost in 2016 found in 2024

The aircraft, with registration K-2743, disappeared on July 22, 2016

New Delhi: The debris of an Indian Air Force (IAF) An-32 transport aircraft, which disappeared over seven-and-a-half years ago in the Bay of Bengal with 29 personnel on board, has been located. It was found on the sea bed approximately 310 km from the Chennai coast, at a depth of 3.4 km.

Despite extensive search and rescue operations involving aircraft and ships, the missing personnel and aircraft debris could not be located until now. The aircraft, with registration K-2743, disappeared on July 22, 2016, during an operational mission from Chennai to Port Blair.

The National Institute of Ocean Technology, under the ministry of earth sciences, located the debris.

"The National Institute of Ocean Technology recently deployed an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) with deep-sea exploration capability at the last known location of the missing An-32," the IAF said. The search, conducted at a depth of 3,400 metres, used multiple payloads, including a multi-beam Sonar (Sound Navigation and Ranging), synthetic aperture Sonar, and high-resolution photography.

Analysis of the search images revealed the presence of aircraft debris on the sea bed, approximately 140 nautical miles (around 310 km) from the Chennai coast. "The scrutinised search images conform with an An-32 aircraft," the IAF stated. "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)," it added.

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