It's a tragedy which looks set to be the Indian Air Force's largest ever peace-time tragedy. Hope is running out for the 29 on board the ill-fated Antonov An-32 aircraft that went missing shortly after taking off from the Tambaram Air base in Chennai enroute to Port Blair this morning.
A massivesearch operation is underway consisting of 16 naval vessels, 6 aircrafts and 1 submarine, jointly operated by the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard.
Simultaneously, questions have also been raised over the airworthiness of the AN-32, an ageing Cold War Era aircraft that forms the backbone of the IAF's transport fleet. Has red-tapism and babudom once again consigned our braves to these 'flying coffins'?