[ Nellie N Manpoong ]
MECHUKA, Jun 4: The AN-32 transport aircraft which went missing on 3 June with 13 people on board is yet to be located even as the Indian Air Force (IAF) is making extensive efforts to locate the aircraft.
While the search operation by helicopters was ceased for the day after sunset on Tuesday, “search by sensors with night capability and ground teams will continue throughout the night,” the IAF tweeted from its official handle.
The IAF also informed that there is continuous coordination with the Indian Army and various government and civil agencies.
The P-8I (surveillance aircraft) of the Indian Navy, satellites like the RISAT, and aircraft equipped with multiple sensors have joined the concerted efforts to locate the missing aircraft.
After the aircraft went missing, the IAF commenced extensive search and rescue operation, engaging C-130J, AN-32, Mi-17 and an advanced light helicopter. The aircraft are equipped with advanced sensors.
The CARTOSAT and RISAT satellites of the ISRO are also engaged in taking images of the area.
“All possible assistance is being provided by the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, the police and the state administration,” the IAF informed.
“The families of all air-warriors onboard the aircraft have been informed and are being updated regularly on the progress of the search operation,” the IAF tweeted.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Bamang Felix informed that the deputy commissioners and superintendents of police of five districts, including Shi Yomi, have been engaged in the search operation.
“We have also appealed to the locals of the five nearby districts to assist. But because of the torrential rain and bad weather, we are not able to penetrate the deep jungles. We are hopeful of getting the latest update soon,” he said.
The Russian-origin AN-32 transport aircraft with 13 people on board went missing on Monday afternoon around 33 minutes after taking off from Jorhat in Assam for Arunachal’s Mechuka in Shi Yomi district.
Timeline of aircraft crashes in Arunachal since 1995
6 June, 1995: An MI-8 chopper crashed near Bello village in Yomcha subdivision of West Siang district, killing all seven on board.
14 November, 1997: Union MoS for defence NVN Somu and three others died when their four-seater Cheetah crashed near Tawang.
26 February, 2001: An MI-8 chopper of the IAF crashed near Ziro, in Lower Subansiri district, killing all six crewmembers, while returning from Tali after a ration sortie.
8 May, 2001: A Pawan Hans chopper crashed near Sessa in West Kameng, killing education minister Dera Natung, education secretary Sange Lhaden, and four others.
9 June, 2009: An AN-32 aircraft crashed near Tato, killing all 13 defence personnel on board, while returning from Mechuka.
19 November, 2010: An Mi-17 helicopter of the IAF crashed in Bomdir, close to Tawang, claiming the lives of 19 people on board.
19 April, 2011: An Mi-17 Pawan Hans chopper crashed while trying to land in Tawang, claiming the lives of 17 people.
30 April, 2011: A single-engine, five-seater Pawan Hans chopper carrying chief minister Dorjee Khandu perished. The bodies of all five were recovered five days later.
12 August, 2015: A Pawan Hans helicopter went missing after taking off from Khonsa, in Tirap district, with DC Kamlesh Joshi and two pilots onboard. All perished in the crash.
25 May, 2017: Two pilots of the IAF died after a Sukhoi-30 fighter jet crashed near the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary.
4 July, 2017: A chopper of the IAF went missing near Sagalee while on a relief and rescue operation. Three IAF and one IRBn personnel died.
6 October, 2017: Five IAF crew members and two army officers were killed after an Mi-17 V5 helicopter of the IAF crashed near Tawang.