[ Nellie N Manpoong ]
ITANAGAR, Jun 8: The search for the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) missing An-32 aircraft entered its sixth day on Saturday with inclement weather hampering aerial search operations.
On Saturday evening, the IAF tweeted that “low clouds and rain, combined with inhospitable terrain has posed serious challenges to aerial search operations.”
The IAF informed that it has increased the deployment of aircraft and expanded the search area significantly.
“More and more area is being covered by airborne sensors and satellites and the imaging is being followed up by close analysis of data for its synergistic amalgamation in search ops,” the IAF tweeted.
The ground teams of the Indian Army, the ITBP, the state police and local people also continued the search in full force throughout Saturday.
Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa visited the IAF station in Jorhat, Assam, on Saturday to assess the status of the search operations, and was briefed on the operations and the inputs received so far.
Dhanoa also interacted with the families of the officers and the airmen who were on board the aircraft.
Meanwhile, Siang Deputy Commissioner Rajeev Takuk informed this daily that five mountaineers, including two Everesters, were dispatched to scout the hills of Pari on Saturday morning.
“Everesters Taka Tamut and Kison Tekseng are joined by three more mountaineers. The team is joined by a few agency labour corps, with five days worth of ration. However, the team could not go beyond Reying today due to heavy rain and will continue tomorrow,” the DC informed.
The Pari hill range is located on the left bank of the Siyom river, while the Bayor hill range is located on the right bank, he said.
“The DC of Shi Yomi district had earlier informed us that the IRBn and local police are still searching, while groups of 5-10 people from every village are engaged in the search in their respective jurisdictions,” Takuk informed.
“The lone hunter sent on 5 June was also supposed to return on Saturday, but is yet to report back,” the DC added.
On Friday, the IAF had updated that over 150 hours had been flown in search of the missing An-32 aircraft.
The Russian-origin transport aircraft of the IAF with 13 people on board went missing around 33 minutes after taking off from Jorhat in Assam for Arunachal’s Mechuka in Shi Yomi district on 3 May.
IAF announces Rs 5 lakh award
Meanwhile, the IAF has announced cash incentive for any information that may lead to locating the missing plane.
Eastern Air Command Air Marshal RD Mathur announced a cash award of Rs 5 lakhs for person(s) or group who provide credible information leading to finding of the aircraft.
Finder(s) may contact the IAF on the following numbers: 0378-3222164 (landline) and 9436499477, 9402077267 and 9402132477 (mobile).