Sangeeta Singh last spoke to her husband Bhupendra Singh, who works at the Naval Armament Depot (NAD), around 7.30am on Friday morning. After that call, Bhupendra switched off his phone to board the AN-32 IAF aircraft that disappeared over the Bay of Bengal less than a couple of hours later.
Bhupendra, one of eight personnel from Vishakapatnam on the flight, works with the Controllerate of Naval Armaments Inspection (CNAI), which he joined in 2015, after serving in the Navy for 23 years.
Since the flight disappeared, whenever the phone rings, Sangeeta, a 44-year-old resident of Marripalem Visakhapatnam, rushes to answer the call, anxiously hoping for some news about Bhupendra. But even 32 hours after the incident they haven't received any information about him.
Bhupendra’s son, 21-year-old Ashutosh Singh, just completed his Btech degree from Amma University, Chennai. Ashuthosh told TNM, "When I received your call, I first thought it was my father's call as he promised my mother he would call back after he reaches the destination. I was so disappointed when I realized that it wasn’t his call.
He adds, "My family and my mother are all praying for the safety of everyone on the aircraft. My mom is very tense. We have tried calling my father more than 30 times, but every time we call him, his phone is still unfortunately switched off".
Ashutosh says that the family has been receiving support from the CNAI. "After we got the news that the aircraft was missing, we contacted the CNAI, and thankfully they are being very helpful to us and are in regular touch with my family,” he says.
Ashutosh adds that this isn’t the first time his family has waited anxiously for his father to return, "This is not the first incident where we have been worried about my father. This kind of situation also happened when he was serving in the Navy. I don't remember it exactly as I was very young at that time, but then too we were not able to contact my father for two or three days but thankfully he came back. I hope that he comes back home safely this time as well.”