New Delhi: With no clue emerging about the whereabouts of the missing Coast Guard aircraft and its three personnel on board even after a month, the distraught father of one of the officers has written an ‘open’ letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating they are “dying every second” and longing to get some bit of news about these men.

File photo of a Dornier surveillance aircraft deployed by the Indian Coast Guard. AFP

File photo of a Dornier surveillance aircraft deployed by the Indian Coast Guard. AFP

The parents of Deputy Commandant Manoj K Soni (Navigator of the aircraft), who were till now in Chennai with their daughter-in-law, are now camping in the national capital to urge the PM, the Defence Minister and other senior functionaries to seek some international help in getting a clue about their son and his two colleagues.

“We are dying every second. Please understand our situation and let’s not have the sacrifice of the three young pilots go missing as a mystery.

“For us, every passing second is difficult to breathe. It is a matter of three brave young pilots who have devoted their lives for nation’s security. We have many questions popping in our mind,” Soni’s father Radheshyam Soni wrote to Modi in his ‘open’ letter.

The Coast Guard Dornier plane, CG-791, had taken off for a routine maritime surveillance sortie in coastal Tamil Nadu on June 8 and since then has been untraceable despite the CG and the Navy undertaking a massive search operation in the sea and the land areas.

Soni, in his letter, says his family and that of the two other officers Vidya Sagar (Pilot) and Subhash Suresh (Co-Pilot) have some unanswered questions.

“Till today, we don’t know what malfunction actually has happened to the Dornier plane and where are the crew members? Will this search operation end up as a mystery? And will we never get to know anything?” he asked.

The family, which hails from Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal, is at present living with their married daughter in nearby Gurgaon and travel everyday to North Block to meet officials who could answer some of their queries.

“Myself — Radheshyam Soni, proud father of Manoj Kumar Soni, with very heavy heart request you (PM) to please look into this matter with utmost urgency. The search process needs to be fast-tracked and then we should do whatever is required to get the results ASAP (as soon as possible),” he said. (More) PTI NES HU

The family while being in Chennai had requested the CG station officials to seek some foreign help to trace the aircraft and the men as the domestic efforts have not borne any positive result.

“We now fear that even whatever remains of them, we would not be able to get even those from the seabed or wherever they are. We just want to know if we are able to scan every place where they are suspected to be lost,” the officer’s brother-in-law Vishal Verma said.

The family, however, has no complaints from the Coast Guard and other authorities involved in the rescue operations.

“The Coast Guard and the Navy have done their best and they are doing their best,” Verma said.

Soni’s father has also sought to know if the safety remedy applications failed in the said Dornier aircraft and if the Indian authorities or those in the world have the “requisite technology” to find an answer to such situations.

“If we are not able to locate the missing Dornier and its crew members then it is a matter of big concern for our country. Does no country in this world has the technology to locate the missing aircraft? If yes, when will we take international assistance?” he asked.

Radheshyam Soni said these questions need to be answered as it is also troubling the minds of all those parents who send their children for serving the motherland through the defence forces.

“In future, what should be done so that such incidents doesn’t occur in future. Should the parents send their children to Defence if there is a big question mark on the safety of them?” he asked in the letter.


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We are dying every second: Father of officer on board missing Dornier plane writes to PM seeking answers