Chennai: A month after a Dornier aircraft with three crew on board was reported missing, the Coast Guard on Wednesday said a submarine involved in the search has picked up positive signals in the probable area where it went down and the search vessel 'Olympic Canyon' would rejoin operations.
"The search effort continues and till yesterday the submarine (from NIOT) was carrying out a search in the area. It has picked up certain signals from the sonar locating beacon and its quite positive indications", Coast Guard I G S P Sharma told reporters here.
Following the development, Reliance Industries vessel 'Olympic Canyon' will rejoin the search operations tomorrow.
"The Reliance vessel Olympic Canyon has been requested and is expected to reach the search area by tomorrow afternoon and shall resume the search. Concurrently, we have also sought assistance of the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) vessel to carry out the bottom scanning using its other ship which is in service with NIOT.
"NIOT officials have agreed to provide the ship and it is expected to sail out from Chennai Harbour by Friday", he said.
Besides the support of 12 national agencies, Sharma said Coast Guard Headquarters at New Delhi have also sought help from certain international agencies from Japan, Australia, Canada and USA, in the search.
To a query, he said, "There has been doubts about the likelihood of transmissions coming out of the sonar locating beacon, which would be capable of transmitting up to 30 days."
Sharma said they had consulted the US manufacturers of the sonar locating beacon of the Dornier aircraft.
Though the signal may get feeble, there was always the likelihood of it transmitting even beyond 30 days, he said.
The official said the ships were not only searching for the beacon, but also looking for presence of any "metallic structure" at the sea bed.
Responding to a query, he said the depth of the sea within 20 miles of the probable area near Pichavaram off Chidambaram coast, ranging from 500 metres to 3,000 metres, is making it "difficult" for them to continue search operations.
He said the families of the missing crew have been briefed regularly and urged them to have confidence in the Coast Guard.
"My message to them is please have confidence in us", he said.
The Dornier aircraft went missing after a routine maritime surveillance sortie in coastal Tamil Nadu on June 8.
Since then, multiple agencies, including the Coast Guard, Navy and Coastal Security Group of state police have done extensive search operations in Tamil Nadu, including the Karaikkal-Cuddalore coastline.