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Missing IAF AN-32 Aircraft Wreckage Located In Bay of Bengal After 7.5 Years

The defence ministry confirmed that recent images captured by an autonomous underwater vehicle deployed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology verified the wreckage, located 310 km off the Chennai coast, as that of an An-32 aircraft.

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The wreckage of an Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft, missing for nearly seven-and-a-half years with 29 personnel on board, has been discovered at a depth of approximately 3.4 km in the Bay of Bengal.

The defence ministry confirmed that recent images captured by an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) deployed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology verified the wreckage, located 310 km off the Chennai coast, as that of an An-32 aircraft.

"The search images were scrutinised 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," stated the ministry.

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The IAF's An-32 aircraft with registration number K-2743 went missing on July 22, 2016, during a mission, with 29 personnel on board. Despite extensive search-and-rescue operations, the missing personnel and the wreckage remained hard to find.

The National Institute of Ocean Technology, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, recently deployed an AUV with deep-sea exploration capabilities at the last known location of the missing An-32 aircraft.

"This search was 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," explained the defence ministry.

"Analysis of search images had indicated the presence of debris of a crashed aircraft on the sea bed approximately 140 nautical miles (3.10 km) from the Chennai coast," it added.

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