It has been more than 24 hrs now that an AN-32 aircraft of the IAF is missing after getting airborne on Monday from Jorhat at around 1227 hrs for Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground. The missing aircraft is carrying 13 persons (including the crew) and had last contacted the ground sources at 1 pm on Monday after taking off from Assam’s Jorhat airbase.
After the disappearance of the aircraft, the IAF had scrambled Sukhoi-30 combat aircraft and C-130 Special Operations aircraft, along with AN-32 aircraft, two Mi-17 choppers of IAF and Indian Army ALH Helicopters to locate the missing aircraft.
It was reported later that some ground reports were received on a possible location of a crash site. Helicopters were routed to the location; however, no wreckage has been sighted so far. The search operations continue on Tuesday. “Search and rescue (SAR) operation resumes as the weather clears up on Tuesday, which was a hindrance earlier for the team. Two MI 17s and one ALH already deployed with the ground party of Army and ITBP,” Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said, adding that more assets may be deployed if required.
Strengthening the rescue process, Indian Navy has also deployed its long-range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8i to join the ongoing rescue operation for the missing flight. The P8i took off from INS Rajali, Arakonam, Tamil Nadu at 1300 h and heads for joining the Search & Rescue operation launched by IAF. It has been reported that the aircraft shall carry out search with Electro-Optical and Infra-Red (EO & IR) sensors in thickly forested areas.
The P8i aircraft as an asset has a very powerful Synthetic Aperture Radar which shall be utilized during the SAR sweeps to locate the missing plane. IAF is coordinating with the Indian Army as well as various government and civil agencies to locate the missing aircraft. The search operations from air and by ground parties are on for the missing flight.