Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said that a flocating object was found in the Bay of Bengal but could not confirm whether it belonged to the missing aircraft AN-32, which disappeared last Friday (July 22) soon after taking off from Chennai's Tambaram air base for Port Blair. "Some floating objects have been found, but it is yet to be ascertained if they are of the AN-32 aircraft," said Manohar Parikar.
Parrikar further said that no compromises would be made in the rescue operations of the aircraft with 29 people on board. An intensive search for the missing IAF's AN-32 transport plane entered the sixth day today. The search area has been expanded from the initial 14,400 square nautical miles. "13 Naval vessels, 2 Coast Guard ships besides assets from Andaman and Nicobar islands are engaged in the operations," Coast Guard Commander (East) Inspector General Rajan Bargotra told reporters.
Several agencies, including National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (NCOIS), were coordinating in the search operations and if needed vessel of NIOT 'Sagar Nidhi' which is on its way from Mauritius will be used for search operations, he said. On Tuesday, search teams detected 4-5 pings from the ocean bed, however, it was yet to be verified if those were from the AN-32 aircraft.