Itanagar: The Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 aircraft with eight crew members and five other passengers onboard which went missing on Monday, could not be traced so far despite massive search operations.
“Search and rescue operation by helicopters called off due to low light. Will resume tomorrow morning. No sighting of missing aircraft as yet,” Guwahati-based Defence PRO, Lt Col P Khongsai said in a statement on Friday.
A source in the Defence said, search and rescue operation by helicopters to locate the missing aircraft has been carried out in four districts including Lower Siang and West Siang of Arunachal Pradesh.
The search operation on Friday was affected due to rains but was resumed after the weather improved, the source stated, adding , UAVs were also involved.
The IAF in a series of tweets, said, “All electronic, radar, optical and infrared sensors including satellites are being employed to scan the area for any probable clues. Indian Army, Police, State Government, Paramilitary Forces and local population are lending crucial support in the search.”
“Army search teams have been in the area for over two days, going through thick forest to locate the aircraft. Senior Air Staff Officer of Eastern Air Command is coordinating and supervising search operations at Along,” it said.
The IAF said it is in regular touch with families of missing air-warriors and all possible assistance is being provided to them.
“Some family members met RM (Raksha Mantri) on 6 June & were briefed about the search efforts. AOC-in-C, EAC, Air Mshl RD Mathur had earlier met the families at Jorhat (Assam). IAF is not sparing any efforts in locating the missing air-warriors. We stand in support of the families in these difficult times,” it said.
It may be mentioned that Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu had asked all the district administrations of Siang, West Siang, Lower Siang and Shi-Yomi to intensify search operation.
The DCs of these districts are in close coordination with the IAF and helping them out with all possible means to locate the missing aircraft.
The aircraft had taken off from Jorhat airbase on Monday afternoon for Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh.