Indian air force transport plane carrying 29 people goes missing

Authorities say a full scale search and rescue mission has been launched

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File photo of an Indian Air Force's (IAF) AN-32 transport aircraft. Image: Mustafa Quraishi / AP/Press Association Images

India's air force says it has lost contact with a transport plane carrying 29 people that has gone missing in the Bay of Bengal.

The AN-32 aircraft took off from Tambaram base in Chennai at 8.30am local time, and was due to touchdown at the Port Blair military base in the Andaman and Nicobar islands at 11.20am.

The flight was supposed to last three hours but the control tower says it lost all contact with the aircraft around 15 minutes after take-off at a height of 21,000 feet.

The country's Defence Ministry tweeted:

Indian Navy spokesperson DK Sharma said: "The aircraft was found mission, as of now we will term it as overdue.

"A full scale search and rescue mission has been launched."

Details of the passengers on board have not yet been released, but the Indian Defence ministry has confirmed they are service personal and six crew members.

The aircraft was transporting security personal to the island.

Four Indian navy ships, two ships from the coast guards and two Indian Air Force planes are involved in a search and rescue operation.

The AN-32 is a Russian-made aircraft and is the main work horse of the Indian Air force, they can fly for four hours without refuelling.

There are about 100 of these planes in the defence forces.

The country is in the midst of the monsoon season and the Bay of Bengal is the main source of its precipitation.