Lankan assistance sought to find missing plane

dornier-thuimbIndian Coast Guard authorities are in touch with Sri Lanka as part of their search efforts to locate a Dornier plane which went missing nearly a month ago, the mother of a missing crew member said on Tuesday.

“Coast Guard chief Vice Admiral H C S Bisht has informed me that Sri Lankan authorities have been requested to alert India if they sight the aircraft or its crew,” Padma Shankari, mother of Deputy Commandant Suresh Subash told PTI.

Suresh Subash was one of the three crew members who went missing after going on board a Dornier plane for 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.

Expressing deep distress over the pace of search which she was told was “still on,” she said, “had this happened on foreign soil, the response would have been much speedier.”

“The Defence and Coast Guard authorities could have done much better and much earlier and they should have got international support in their efforts,” she said.

The top CG official wrote to Padma in response to her letter to the Defence Ministry over the issue of locating the aircraft.

“The letter indicates that the Coast Guard authorities are also looking at the possibility of the crew being stranded in Sri Lankan waters. Indian High Commission in Colombo has been apprised on the issue,” she added.

Sounding apprehensive, she said since a month would pass in the next two days, “what will happen now? there might not be signals any more, the earlier ones were themselves weak.”

“I am proud of my son, he chose to serve the nation, but I want to see his face. I want to know what happened, uncertainty is very, very painful, this is the pain of amother,” she said.

She said it was distressing that there was no response to either her tweets to Prime Minister Narendra Modi or her letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

She had written to the Chief Minister’s cell on June 13, a few days after the disappearance of the aircraft, seeking the state’s help in locating the aircraft.

Thirty-year-old Suresh Subash joined Coast Guard in 2010. He was a B Tech graduate from Regional Engineering College in Jalandhar.

Eight days after the plane went missing, his wife Deepa Lakshmi tweeted to the PM’s office saying, “@PMOIndia 8 days since my husband Subash Suresh, pilot of CG791 is missing. Request your attention #FindSubash”.