IAF Missing Aircraft
On July 22, 2016, AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF), carrying 29 personnel including eight employees from Naval Armament Deport (NAD) based in Vizag went missing over the Bay of Bengal after it took off from Chennai. The plane was on the way to Port Blair to rectify a defect in the CRN-91 weapon system mounted on INS Batti Malv, a vessel of Bangaram-class.
Despite the search operations with 18 aircraft and 17 ships carried out by Indian Navy for almost a month, there are no leads to the whereabouts of the crew.
The disappearance of the plane has prompted many questions by the concerned family members.
It has been four months since this incident, but the families are yet to find closure with the details. The authorities have declared the missing persons dead, but there has been no announcement about any financial aid, compensation or employment to the bereaved family members.
Purna Chandra Senapati, Chinna Rao, Charan Maharana, G Srinivasa Rao, B Samba Murthy, Bhupendra Singh, P Nagendra Rao, R V Prasad Baby were the eight NAD employees boarded on the aircraft.
Eshwari and Vedanchi, wife and daughter of G Srinivasa Rao have been awaiting his return for the past four months. His wife Eashwari is in the advanced stages of her second pregnancy and lives with her parents. Vedanchi asks for her father and is looking forward to taking long evening walks with him.
Eshwari keeps herself glued to news channels with the hope that her husband is still alive and that one day she will hear news of his return. The family is already battling financial crisis and this uncertainty about Srinivas is causing further emotional and mental agony.
Rama’s story is also similar. Rama, married to B Sambamurthy has been waiting for her husband since July. She has two young children studying in primary school. The NAD has stopped paying the salary, and the family has no other means for financial support.
The wives and families of all the NAD employees are nursing the hope that their husbands, fathers, sons will be back soon.
Many of the members have refused to believe that the plane vanished as there is no indication of any debris. They are finding it hard to believe that an aircraft just disappeared without a trace. Some families have not signed on the NOC, but some of them have been forced to sign on the dotted line due to economic compulsion. They are hopeful that the benefits will be cleared soon, and jobs will be provided to them, but they have not received anything in writing yet.
The parents of the employees have also refused to sign on ‘presumed dead’ declaration form hoping that their sons have survived the accident and have been injured, but not dead. Read more at The Hindu