One Week On, Search for Missing AN-32 Aircraft Continues

The IAF plane, which was to land at the Menchuka airfield in Arunachal Pradesh, went missing soon after taking off from Assam on June 3.

New Delhi: Search operation for the AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) with 13 people on board, which went missing after taking off from Assam’s Jorhat airbase on June 3, is still ongoing.

The plane was to land at the Menchuka airfield in Arunachal Pradesh.

According to media reports from Arunachal, although the heavy rains that hampered the search operation early on have lessened considerably since the morning of June 9, the presence of clouds has continued to pose a difficulty.

A report in The Arunachal Times quoted Siang deputy commissioner Rajeev Taluk as saying, “The search grid has been expanded over a large area, including Pari hills and Pahudino hills.” Aside from continuing the aerial search, ground operations have also been amplified. The government has deployed five mountaineers to look for the aircraft besides hiring five other local hunters. The government has also announced an award of Rs 5 lakh for any reliable information on the whereabouts of the aircraft.

“The five mountaineers deployed in the search (on June 9 early morning) have reached Payum, and will begin their march on Monday (June 10) for Pari hills first,” Takuk told the newspaper on the evening of June 9. Two of the mountaineers have scaled the Mount Everest.

Besides, the five hunters who were to return to Siang on June 9, are still awaited.

On June 3, the transporter aircraft lost contact with the Air Traffic Control 35 minutes after taking off from Jorhat, leading the authorities to presume that it might have either reached the Tato circle of Arunachal or crossed it to proceed towards Monigong in the state’s Shi Yomi district. It was on its way to the advanced landing ground in Mechuka situated close to the India-China border. Air Chief B.S. Dhanoa visited the Jorhat base on June 8 to inquire about the search operation.

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