IAF Offers Rs 5-lakh Reward For Information On Missing AN-32
Arunachal enlists village headmen in search operations
ITANAGAR: Weather played spoilsport on Sunday in the search operation of the IAF AN-32 aircraft which went missing on June 3 last. Shillong-based IAF spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh, in a statement, said that no search operation could take place on Sunday due to bad weather and low clouds. Kohima-based Defence spokesman Col Chiranjit Konwer in another statement said that Air Officer Commanding in chief of Eastern Air Command Air Marshal R D Mathur has announced a cash award of Rs 5 lakh for the person (s) or group who provide credible information leading to finding of the aircraft.
He said that the IAF is using all its assets and taking help of the Army, Arunachal Pradesh civil authorities and other national agencies to locate the missing aircraft. Finders may contact the Air Force on the following numbers - Landline: 0378-3222164, Mobile: 9436499477 / 9402077267 / 9402132477, an Indian Air Force statement said.
Meanwhile, the administration of Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh also announced Rs 50,000 reward to motivate people and local villagers to search for the aircraft which has been missing since Monday in an area close to the India-China border.
“Helicopters, UAV and C-130J were airborne for search missions but had to abort it due to continuous rain,” the spokesman said, adding, search operations by ground parties were on.
Search efforts by ground teams of Indian Army, ITBP, state police and locals have been continued in full force. However, aerial search could not be undertaken due to poor weather conditions prevailing throughout Sunday.
The IAF has increased the deployment of its helicopters and transport aircraft and has expanded the search area significantly since the beginning of the operations. More and more area is being covered by airborne sensors and satellites and the imaging is being followed-up by close analysis of the data for its synergistic amalgamation in the search operations.
Along with the aerial operation using sophisticated technologies and satellites of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), several teams involving the civil administration, police and local people have been assisting the search operation on the ground in and around the jungles of Mechuka to search for the missing aircraft.
“The ongoing search operation is being carried out by a team consisting of police, civilians, hunters and locals who have been continuously scouting the area. Additionally, all ‘Gaon Burhas’ (GBs or village headmen) have been engaged to aid the search operation,” said a senior district administration official.
Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Saturday also visited Air Force Station Jorhat to take stock of the search operation.
He was given a detailed briefing about the operation and was apprised with inputs received so far. He also met the families of the officers and airmen who were on board the aircraft.
The search for the missing Indian Air Force An-32 continued for the sixth day on Saturday. Due to poor weather conditions prevailing throughout the day, aerial search could not be undertaken, an IAF statement said. However, search efforts by ground teams of the Indian Army, ITBP, state police and locals continued in full force.
On June 3, the transport plane with 13 people on board took off from Jorhat Airbase in Assam for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The plane disappeared from the radar and immediately the IAF launched a massive search operation to trace its whereabouts.
The search area is mountainous and heavily forested with thick undergrowth. The weather in the area has been inclement with low clouds and rain during most hours. Combined with the inhospitable terrain, the weather has posed serious challenges to aerial search operations, the IAF said.
More areas were being covered by airborne sensors and satellites and the imaging is being followed up by close analysis of the data for its synergistic amalgamation in the search operations.
After bad weather hampered the search for the missing AN-32 transport aircraft and the 13 air warriors on board, the operation resumed at noon as the weather improved.
ISRO has also used its RISAT satellite to try and trace the missing aircraft. However, all efforts have so far failed to track down the plane.
Some of the family members of those on board the aircraft have already reached Jorhat and are waiting anxiously for any news.
The IAF said that it is not sparing any effort in locating the missing air warriors. “We stand in support of the families in these difficult times,” the IAF said.
The IAF has already deployed four Mi-17 choppers, three Advanced Light Helicopters, two Su-30 MKI, one C-130 transporter, two Cheetah helicopters and one Army Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to carry out the search.
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