Chennai: It's been more than 48 hours since Indian Air Force's AN 32 went missing, but the plane is still untraceable.
The aircraft disappeared over the Bay of Bengal on Friday morning after taking off from Chennai.
Several ships and aircraft are searching for the plane in the Bay of Bengal.
Defence Minister conducts aerial survey
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Saturday conducted an aerial survey to monitor the search and rescue operations for the missing IAF plane.
He boarded an aircraft from Tambaram and was briefed by the IAF and Navy personnel before leaving for the aerial survey.
Former Air Marshal A.K. Singh has said the chances of survival have reduced significantly since the most crucial time has passed.
Massive search operation launched
A massive search and rescue operation has been launched by the IAF, Navy and Coast Guard, deploying one submarine, eight aircraft and 13 ships for tracking it.
While IAF has pressed into service a C130 plane along with two AN32, the Navy has deployed two P8i maritime surveillance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft from the strategically important Port Blair, home to India`s only tri-service command.Coast Guard has rushed four ships to the spot besides two dorniers.
The Navy has also pressed into service two Dornier aircraft and 12 ships with the Eastern Fleet Commander on board for the search and rescue operation.
Indian Navy PRO Captain D.K. Sharma said the Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard are engaged in intensive search operations to locate the aircraft.
The Russian built twin engine AN 32 aircraft had undergone an upgrade in Ukraine.
However, what adds to the concern is the fact that this aircraft can only fly for up to four hours without re-fuelling.
Families pray for good news
As search for the missing AN-32 IAF aircraft with 29 people on board is on, the family and friends of two Kerala defence officials who were on the plane are praying fervently and hoping to hear some good news.
The last that the anxious relatives heard from Naik I.P.Vimal and Petty Officer Sajeev Kumar, who hail from Kozhikode, was that they are about to board the aircraft bound for Port Blair.