A spokesman for India's defense ministry says the Indian air force has lost contact with a transport plane with 29 people on board.

Nitin Wakanker says the AN-32 aircraft took off from the southern city of Chennai at 8.30 am Friday. It was slated to reach the coastal city of Port Blair three hours later but had not been in contact for nearly three hours beyond its arrival time.

A massive search by the air force, navy and coast guard has been launched.

No other details were immediately available.