ITANAGAR: Despite inclement weather, a massive search operation is on for an Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 transport aircraft with 13 people on board that went missing over Arunachal Pradesh. On Wednesday, the IAF pressed into service a SU-30 jet fighter, C130 J, Mi17 and ALH helicopters to trace the missing Russian-origin transporter aircraft that was last seen on Monday afternoon.
The searches were taking place along thickly forested routes between Assam’s Jorhat and Mechuka advanced landing ground in Arunachal Pradesh. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellites – CARTOSAT and RISAT – were also taking images of the area.
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal R.D. Mathur is monitoring the search and rescue operations. He had interacted with the families of the missing IAF personnel.
In addition, the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Arunachal Police and local communities were trekking on the ground to search for the missing aircraft. “The search is still on but the missing AN-32 is yet to be sighted,” IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said. On Monday, the AN-32 transporter had taken off from Assam’s Jorhat at 12.27 p.m. for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh’s Shi-Yomi district bordering China.
The aircraft lost contact with the ground staff at 1.30 p.m. On Tuesday, the Indian Navy’s Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8i conducted an aerial survey to locate the partly upgraded AN-32 aircraft. (IANS)
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