IAF's AN-32 transport aircraft goes missing with 13 on board in Arunachal; search and rescue resumes as weather clears up

Indian Air Force's missing AN-32 aircraft with 13 people on board is still not located, over 12 hours since it lost contact following take off from Jorhat in Assam. C-130J and ground patrols of the Army are currently carrying out search operations to trace the aircraft.

According to the latest updates, search and rescue operations have resumed after the weather cleared up. Reports further added that one advanced light helicopter has already been deployed with the ground party of the Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). More assets may be deployed later, reports added.

According to ANI, the aircraft was overdue for landing for more than two hours in Menchuka air field of Arunachal Pradesh. It last contacted ground sources at 1 pm, after taking off from Jorhat airbase at 12:25 pm.

CNN-News18 reported there were 13 people on board the aircraft, of which eight were crew members and five were passengers.

To locate the missing aircraft, the IAF launched Sukhoi-30 combat aircraft and C-130 special operation aircraft on a search mission. It also launched ground troops for locating the aircraft and people on board. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted that IAF vice-chief Air Marshal Rakesh Singh Bhadauria apprised him of the steps taken in view of the incident.

Few reports on Monday evening claimed that officials had spotted the wreckage of the aircraft near Payum village. However, the IAF rejected the reports and said the search operations will continue through the night.

The Soviet-era aircraft was inducted into the air force in the 1980s and have been undergoing upgrades. The missing plane is not part of the upgraded AN-32 fleet of the air force.

The last time an IAF transport aircraft went missing was in 2016 when an AN-32 disappeared over the Bay of Bengal after taking off from Chennai for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The search and rescue operation continued for weeks but the aircraft was never found.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jun 04, 2019 09:14:30 IST