Family of Odia man aboard missing IAF aircraft shattered

Berhampur: A pall of grief has descended upon the family of Charan Moharana, who was aboard the Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 transport aircraft with 29 people on board that went missing on Friday over the Bay of Bengal off the Chennai coast.

Charan, a resident of Sukunda on the outskirts of Berhampur, joined the Indian Navy in 2014 as a technician.

With the IAF aircraft still untraceable despite a full-scale search and rescue mission, the family is in absolute despair and grief.

According to family sources, Charan’s mobile phone is unreacheabe and the family members were informed about the missing plane by one of their relatives .

“He has not called and we are not able to reach him over phone either. At around 3 PM, one of his friends from Visakhapatnam called us and informed that the plane on which Charan was travelling had gone missing,” said a visibly devastated Sudam Moharana, Charan’s father.

Notably, the aircraft, an upgraded AN-32 belonging to the 33 Squadron, took off from Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai at 8.30 a.m., and was expected to land at Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands at 11.30 a.m., officials said, describing it as a “routine sortie”.

According to a report submitted to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar by Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, the recorded transcript of the Chennai air traffic radar showed the last pickup was 151 nautical miles east of Chennai, when the aircraft was observed to have carried out a left turn with rapid loss of height from 23,000 feet.