After more than two days of aerial searches, several Special Forces soldiers were Wednesday morning rappelled into thick virgin forest but did not find the missing aircraft and two persons who were aboard, according to a well-placed source.
The source said that the decision to put boots on the ground was made based on accounts from residents in the area and vultures that had been hovering over an area.
However, the soldiers only came upon a dead animal. There was no sign of the Britten-Norman Islander bearing registration number 8R-GHE.
Air Traffic Controllers lost contact with the pilot, 27-year old Nickey Persaud while he was on a shuttle flight from Mahdia to Karisparu. Also aboard was a cargo loader, 51-year old Donald Bisnauth.
Several planes and helicopters have been flying over an area of interest, but so far there has been no sighting.
Flying time logged for the third day- Tuesday- of the aerial reconnaissance is 11 hours and 52 minutes. The total search hours flown to date is 29 hours and 54 minutes.
The teams were also equipped with an Emergency Locator Transmitter Locator (ELTL) – a tracking device which aids in the detection and location of aircraft.