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Navy, Coast Guard join search for Malaysia Airline plane in Andaman Sea

New Delhi, March 13: India on Thursday joined the search for the Malaysia Airlines plane that has been missing since Saturday while headed for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

The search for the Boeing 777-200ER, which had 239 people on board, will cover an area of 130x130 nautical miles, or roughly 35,000sqkm, in the south Andaman Sea.

The western extremity of the area is about 60 nautical miles east of Campbell's Bay.

Three ships designated for patrolling the area are the INS Kumbhir, which is a landing ship tank medium (LSTM), the INS Saryu, an offshore patrol vessel, which has already sailed out, and the Coast Guard's ICGS Kanaklata Barua.

The INS Saryu and the Coast Guard vessel are from Port Blair in the Andamans.

Two Dornier aircraft, one each of the Navy and the Coast Guard, have joined the search from the air.

A long-range maritime patrol craft P8i has taken off from Arakonam in Tamil Nadu.

The search operation is being directed from the maritime operations centre in Delhi headed by the deputy chief of naval staff, Vice-Admiral P.K. Chatterjee.

The searchers will have to primarily rely on binoculars, since radar is not effective for such cases.

Since the airliner disappeared without any sign, one theory is that disintegrated into bits before coming down.

Typically, from an aircraft flying at about 1500 feet, the field of vision with binoculars will cover about eight nautical miles.