Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Heartbreaking Anguish Of 3 Missing Coast Guard Pilots' Wives

It's been over a week since Indian Coast Guard Dornier Do-228 airframe number CG791 went missing off India's east coast on a routine night patrol mission. A big and sustained search operation with air, surface and sub-surface assets has continued in the Bay of Bengal ever since. Three days ago, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard spotted an oil slick and detected a weak but intermittent signal from beneath the surface -- believed to be the aircraft's emergency locator ping. An Indian Navy Kilo (INS Sindhudhvaj) continues to sonar-sweep the seabed to zero in on what could be the wreck.

I spoke this morning to Deepa Lakshmi, the wife of one of the missing crew members, Subash Suresh, a day after she tweeted to the Indian PM asking for his personal attention in the effort. She told me she was fully satisfied with the information that was being shared with her by the Indian Coast Guard and Navy, but 'shattered and anxious', she could think of nothing else but to reach out to the PM. I don't think anyone can imagine what Deepa, Sushma (wife of pilot Sai Vidyasagar) and Amruta (wife of co-pilot Manoj Soni) are going through.

Deepa spoke to my India Today colleague Shreesha Reddy today. She said, "The brain understands that a lot of things are happening, but the heart is making us do all this, the tweets and messages. We have complete faith in the government of India and the Coastguard. If the PM can put in a word, perhaps things will move faster. There is nothing that has happened to us to lose hope that we have lost our boy. He is going to come back to us. He is there somewhere, but don't know where he is. Though it is emotional, we are very confident and have not lost hope on anything."

According to the last formal update from the Indian Coast Guard yesterday, "Intense search for missing ICG aircraft continues relentlessly by Coast Guard and Naval ships and aircraft for the seventh consecutive day. The submarine operations continued for detection of acoustic signal from the Sonar Locator Beacon (SLB)  of the missing aircraft. Feeble /sporadic signals received are being reconfirmed by probe equipment of National Institute of Oceanography (NIOT) embarked onboard ICG Ship. A total of eight ships and aircraft of the ICG and IN continue to search in the most probable area. Aerial search is also being continued with the deployment of ICG and IN aircraft.  A total of 136 hours have been flown so far by the ICG and IN aircraft towards search.  Research vessel 'Sagarnidhi' arrived at 1000 hrs today and undertaking subsurface search and seabed profiling for ascertaining the position of missing aircraft."


amit said...

Feel sad that men go through so much of pain and then politics is played on such martyrs. Salute to all the three brave men.

aero said...

2 dorniers of ICG in two months...quite shocking and tragic incidents..is there any chance enemy submarines/ small fishing boats firing shoulder fired missiles like stinger at these aircrafts in the total darkness amidst the roar of the high seas!!!!

Anonymous said...

Not a single variety of air assets are being spared. At first it was the 'fault' of vintage Russian migs & then newer Sukhoi's. Now Western jets like Jaguars & even Hawk trainers & hercules transporters. The indigenous dorniers in quick succession. Lets leave the chopper section. Whats happening. Above all no new orders for any fighters. Now its time for us to switch to drones.

After 8 days we are still unable to find the wreckage with half of the fleet engaged in search operation. In such scenario The Shinmaywa search & rescue planes comes to much help & we are delaying to acquire it.

Anonymous said...

I am sure the ICG and IN are doing everything possible, though we have complete sympathy with the family members of the crew, running to the PM on such issues is not in order. I gives a feeling that there is no faith in government process. Being in the profession of arms such unfortunate things do occur. The only thing the service can do is rally oaround the families and give them all the support they deserve. I am sure the ICG and IN will not fail in this task.

Anonymous said...

The PM should have at least personally called families of these brave officers who dont think twice before opting to join forces to serve the nation though they have other options open to them. Latit Modi and Yoga for everybody can always wait.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult for common people to understand the pain n patience faced by wives if indiam army navy air force .. When their husbands have rendered their entire life for the country ... It is the duty and responsibility of the government to render complete support in their search ... Hoping Narendra modiji will look into this matter and fasten the search process... V don't want to lose the precious gems of our country ..

Parthasarathi said...

A very good reading and in-depth analysis on very high accident rates of IAF. planes. Source : http://in.rbth.com/blogs/2015/06/04/why_the_indian_air_force_has_a_high_crash_rate_43501.html
Many interesting facts but I personally believe that HAL. built planes ( licencee ) are having inherent material problems at the same time shoddy quality control. They are not following the original maker's guidelines ! Thus IAF. Mirage is having a much less ( touch wood ) accident rates compare with HAL. built (licencee) planes. Let it be Sukhoi 30 MKI, Hawk or Jaguar.
Any comments !

uk anand said...

may their souls rest in peace
god bless their families with the strength to bear the loss
jai hind

Cactus | Lily said...

India's is the only major Navy or Coast Guard, not to operate specialist SAR aircraft. The US can afford to do this, simply because its coast is dotted with helicopter bases.
We can't afford to do this - so we clearly need amphibious fixed-wing SAR aircraft in our Coast Guard or at least in our Navy. We have literally, no amphibious SAR aircraft in our inventory. When a country has a coastline as long as ours, with limited resources - this is not only senseless but a highly irresponsible oversight of capability planning, when it comes to the lives of our Naval aviators.

Rama Laxmi said...

Rip.vidyasagar's grany told me the tragedy.
I am a close relative to her.