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Reliance vessel assists in locating FDR of Indian Coast Guard's missing Dornier aircraft
A Dornier aircraft of Indian Coast Guard (ICG), CG - 791, had been missing since 8thJune, 2015 after it crashed in the Bay of Bengal off the Chennai coast. Two pilots and one navigator who boarded the aircraft also went missing.
After thirty-three days, the black box or the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) of the aircraft box has been traced with the help of Reliance vessel, last week. The FDR discovery may give some significant clues to the agencies to understand the cause of the incident.

Assistance from Reliance Industries

The Chief Public Relations Officer of Coast Guard Region (East) issued a statement to inform that Indian Naval Sindhudhvaj was redeployed to search for the aircraft. On 6th July, it picked up a bombardment of transmissions in a depth of 996 meters. This proved important to let out Reliance vessel, MV Olympic Canyon and circumscribe the search. The vessel was taken from Reliance Industries' Kaveri gas basin.

Olympic Canyon has a remotely operated underwater camera, Echo Sounder and projector lights. This lets the vessel to capture the video and also conduct an underwater search. The Reliance vessel is fixed in a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). It found the FDR and one Line Replacement Unit (LRU) from a depth of around 950 meters. Human remains and aircraft debris were also found, below. The debris had two engines, tail and tail cone, propellers, parts of the airframe, fuselage, landing gear, cockpit voice recorder and the boots and watches worn by the crew members.

A release from Coast Guard stated that Reliance Industries provided the ROV at no cost. It termed this to be a "noble gesture towards humanitarian cause of search and rescue."

Search operation

The search operation named operation TALASH was started within hours after the aircraft went missing. Four ships and a surveillance aircraft were sent for the rescue operation. This operation became the longest maritime search of India.

Many agencies worked for the operation. Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau spread an alarm in the local area. The National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) of Hyderabad was asked for satellite pictures to locate debris. Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) of Hyderabad was also requested for the mission. The Navy and National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT)conducted an underwater search. Its vessel, Sagar Nidhi, came up with no results in its 2-day search of the 'most probable area.'

Many agencies like ICG, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, Tamil Nadu's Fisheries Department and private companies like Reliance Industries led a 693 hours of surface effort and 196 hours of air effort to recover the FDR.

Missing aircraft

The ICG officials said that the crew on the aircraft was highly experienced. The aircraft was on night surveillance over the Palk Strait and should have returned to Chennai. Deputy Commandant Subash Suresh was the observer, Deputy Commandant Vidya sagar was the pilot and Deputy Commandant M.K. Soni was co-pilot. In March 2015, another Dornier had crashed into the sea and two crew members were killed.

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