Aerial search for missing An-32 plane resumes

MECHUKA, Jun 10: Aerial search operation resumed on Monday after a gap of two days as efforts to trace the missing transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) continued for the eighth consecutive day in Mechuka in Shi Yomi district of Arunachal Pradesh, officials said.
Shillong-based IAF spokesman Ratnakar Singh said despite rigorous search operations by the IAF, the army, the district administrations and locals on Monday, the whereabouts of the ill-fated An-32 plane could not be ascertained.
“Helicopters and C-130J aircraft were carrying out aerial search operations during the day, while it will be continued during the night by UAV and C-130J aircraft to locate the missing aircraft,” the spokesman said.
Search efforts by ground teams of the Indian Army, the ITBP, the state police and locals continued in full force in the mountainous area, he said.
Aerial search resumed on Monday after a gap of two days.
On Sunday, a fleet of helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and C-130J aircraft had taken to the skies but they landed back due to rain and poor weather.
The aerial search operation could not take place on Saturday, as well.
On Monday, the IAF deployed more helicopters and transport aircraft, and has expanded the search area significantly since the beginning of the operations.
More areas were being covered by airborne sensors and satellites, and the imaging is being followed up by close analysis of data for synergistic amalgamation with the search operations.
With eight crew members and five armed forces personnel on board, the IAF aircraft lost contact with ground control before it went off radar on 3 June.
The Russian-made plane, which was on its way to the advanced landing ground in Mechuka from Jorhat in Assam, went missing 33 minutes after it took off at 12.27 am.
The IAF had on Saturday announced a reward of Rs 5 lakhs to anyone providing information about location of the An-32 transport aircraft.
The assets deployed for the operation included Sukhoi-30 aircraft, in addition to a fleet of C-130J and An-32 planes and Mi-17 and ALH helicopters.
The ground forces included troops from the army, the ITBP, and the state police.
The IAF has been regularly updating the families of all air warriors who were on board the aircraft about the rescue operation.
The Indian Navy’s P-8I aircraft was deployed earlier this week as it has electro-optical and infra-red sensors which could be helpful in the search operation.
IAF officials said the ISRO’s Cartosat and RISAT satellites are taking images of the area around Menchuka to help the rescuers find the plane. (PTI)