The Indian Air Force (IAF) said on Monday that the search for the missing AN-32 aircraft will continue through the night.
In a statement, the IAF said that the operations will continue from air as well as on the ground by the Indian Army.
“Some reports of possible location of crash site was received; however, no wreckage has been sighted so far,” the IAF said.
“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,” the IAF added.
Earlier today, the AN-32 transport aircraft disappeared with 13 persons on board hours after it took off from Assam’s Jorhat airbase for Menchuka Advance Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh.
The IAF aircraft had last contacted ground sources at 1 pm after taking off from Jorhat airbase at 12:25 pm. The Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground is located near the China border.
The IAF immediately scrambled Sukhoi-30 combat aircraft and C-130 Special Operations aircraft on a search mission to locate the missing jet.
The IAF said that another AN-32 and Mi-17 as well as an Indian Army ALH helicopter have been pressed into service to locate the missing aircraft.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Air Marshal Rakesh Singh Bhadauria, the Vice Chief of the Air Staff, and inquired about the missing aircraft.
“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. 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,” he wrote on Twitter earlier today.
This is the second disappearance of an IAF AN-32 aircraft. In July 2016, an AN-32 aircraft went missing over the Bay of Bengal with 29 people on board while on its way to Port Blair from Tambaram Air Force Station in Chennai.
Despite a massive search operation – India’s largest search operation for a missing plane over the sea – involving the ships and aircraft of Indian Navy and the IAF and scanning of 2,17,800 square nautical miles of Bay and Bengal, the aircraft could not be found.
The government informed the then Lok Sabha of no survivors on board the aircraft.