New Delhi: A massive search and rescue operation to locate a Soviet-origin Antonov-32 Indian Air Force military transport plane resumed on Tuesday morning in the hilly terrain of Arunachal Pradesh.
The crew included six officers --- a Wing Commander, a Squadron Leader and four Flight Lieutenants ---- and two personnel below officer rank. The others were three personnel below officer rank and two non-combatants.
The IAF plane took off from Jorhat in Assam at 12.27pm and was on its way to an advanced landing ground at Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Siang district when it vanished from the radar, said an IAF spokesperson.
It was scheduled to land an hour later at a remote military landing strip in Mechuka in neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.
The aircraft last contacted ground control at 1pm, the spokesperson said.
The Air Force has deployed two Mi-17s and one Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) to search for the missing plane. The Indian Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the state disaster relief force joined the search.
In 2009, an AN-32 had crashed in the same area.
On Monday, Indian Air Force spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel P Khongsai said every effort was being made to locate the missing plane.
IAF is coordinating with Indian Army, various government and civil agencies to locate the missing aircraft. Search operations will continue from air and by ground parties of Indian Army through the night. 4/4— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 3, 2019
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke with IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal Rakesh Singh Bhadauria for an update on the missing plane.
He tweeted: “He [Bhadauria] has apprised me of the steps taken by IAF to find the missing aircraft. I pray for the safety of all passengers on board.”
Spoke to Vice Chief of @IAF_MCC, Air Marshal Rakesh Singh Bhadauria regarding the missing IAF AN-32 Aircraft which is overdue for some hours.— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) June 3, 2019
He has apprised me of the steps taken by the IAF to find the missing aircraft. I pray for the safety of all passengers on board.