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IAF AN-32 HIGHLIGHTS: No breakthrough in search for missing aircraft; operations to continue overnight

Search operation to locate the missing IAF AN-32 aircraft is underway. Two Mi17s and one ALH have been deployed with the ground party of the Army and the ITBP to locate the aircraft that went missing Monday with 13 people onboard.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 6, 2019 10:30:46 pm
Indian Air Force, AN-32, AN-32 missing, live updates, IAF rescue mission, IAF AN 32 search, IAF Aircraft missing, AN-32 IAF AN-32, India news, Indian Express Indian Air Force (IAF) officials examine an AN-32 transport aircraft  (File/ Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

A massive day-night search for a transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force, which went missing two days ago, continued on Wednesday despite inclement weather conditions in mountainous Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Siang district. With 13 persons onboard, the aircraft lost contact while flying over Arunachal Pradesh. It was carrying eight crew members and five armed forces personnel. The aircraft took off at 12.25 PM and lost contact at around 1 PM with the ground station. It was scheduled to arrive at the Mechuka Advance Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh at 1.30 PM.

Indian Navy aircraft Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8i and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellites have joined the search to locate the aircraft. CARTOSAT and RISAT satellites of ISRO are being used to capture images of the area.

The Navy aircraft is carrying out the search with Electro-Optical and Infra-Red (EO & IR) sensors in thickly forested areas between Jorhat and Mechuka, where the AN-32 went missing. “It’s a little difficult terrain to carry out search op because there’s thick vegetation, however, we are using all our means, the electronic means, the electro-optical means,” IAF spokesperson Anupam Banerjee said on Tuesday.

The IAF has initiated an overdue action and employed all its resources to locate the aircraft. A Sukhoi-30MKI, C-130 Special Operations aircraft were deployed on a search mission.

Live Blog

IAF AN-32 carrying 13 people lost contact around 1 PM Monday while flying over Arunachal Pradesh. A massive search operation is underway. Follow HIGHLIGHTS here. Read in Tamil | Bangla | Malayalam

22:29 (IST)06 Jun 2019
IAF has flown over 100 hours in search operations of the missing AN-32 aircraft

Indian Air Force intensifying and expanding the search for AN-32. Fighter aircraft, C130, helicopters and aircrafts carrying specialised sensors, satellites as well as civil, police and local adminsitratve agencies have been involved in the expanded search operations. Indian Navy aircraft P8i will fly a sortie on Friday morning, as the weather is likely to improve. Due to thick forests and difficult terrain, the parties which set out on foot are still searching the entire area as satellite data is simultaneously being analysed. However, weather continues to pose as a challenge for IAF, which has flown more than 100 hours in the rescue operations.

21:51 (IST)06 Jun 2019
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met pilot Ashish Tanwar's family members
19:37 (IST)06 Jun 2019
Search likely to continue through the night; area of search expanded: IAF

Regarding the missing AN-32 aircraft, IAF issued a statement said that the area of search had been expanded and more assets were being included. Assets such as small and manoeuverable helicopters like Cheetah were being used in the rescue mission in order to reach areas inaccessible by bigger helicopters or individuals on foot.

The search was also being adversely affected by localised weather in the valleys. The leads from airborne sensors, even those by Indian Navy was being closely assessed with follow-up search by aircraft and ground teams. The search is likely to continue through the night. 

18:45 (IST)06 Jun 2019
Arunachal villagers saw smoke in mountain on route

Residents of an Arunachal Pradesh village Thursday said they had seen thick black smoke billowing from a mountain on Monday, the day an Indian Air Force aircraft carrying 13 people went missing, prompting authorities to verify the claim. Three people from Tumbin village said that on Monday afternoon they had seen thick black smoke originating from a mountain towards Molo village in Siang district. "This is being verified," Director General of Police S B K Sing informed the CMO. (PTI)

16:18 (IST)06 Jun 2019
Families urge government to intensify search operation

Families of the two IAF officers who were onboard the missing IAF transport aircraft AN-32 appealed to the government to intensify the search operation while praying for their safe return. Flight Lieutenant Ashish Tanwar's (29) teary-eyed mother Saroj appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deploy all resources to trace the aircraft and those missing. (PTI)

15:19 (IST)06 Jun 2019
Army deploys UAVs for the search operation of the missing AN-32 aircraft

Army deploys its UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) to search for the missing AN-32 transport aircraft over Arunachal Pradesh-Assam. IAF’s Mi-17 choppers and other aircraft also being used for the operation. (ANI)

14:19 (IST)06 Jun 2019
AP CM: Search operation for missing aircraft intensified
14:11 (IST)06 Jun 2019
AN-32 still missing, tribal villagers witnessed "thick black smoke"

Tribal villagers had witnessed "thick black smoke" originating from a mountain towards Molo village in Arunachal Pradesh on Monday after IAF aircraft went missing around 1 pm. (IANS)

13:23 (IST)06 Jun 2019
Family of Ashish Tanwar seeks govt help
11:32 (IST)06 Jun 2019
Search and rescue operation enters fourth day
08:50 (IST)06 Jun 2019
In this Punjab family, a mother who doesn’t know her son’s missing, a father who is searching for him

Indian Air Force Flight Lieutenant Mohit Garg (27) is one of the 13 people on board the IAF AN-32 aircraft that went missing Monday in Arunachal Pradesh after taking off from Assam’s Jorhat. Since Monday, his family back home in Samana town of Punjab’s Patiala district is only praying for a miracle and ruing if he could’ve spent some more time with them at home. Read more here

07:59 (IST)06 Jun 2019
Pilot’s wife was on ATC duty in Jorhat when IAF AN-32 vanished from radar

When the Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft went missing Monday afternoon, the wife of pilot Ashish Tanwar (29) saw things unfold closer than anyone else. Posted at the IAF Air Traffic Control in Jorhat in Assam, Sandhya was on duty when the flight took off from the base at 12.25 pm for the advanced landing ground at Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh.

“They lost contact with the flight at 1 pm, and she called us an hour later to tell us what had happened,” Flight Lieutenant Ashish’s uncle Udaivir Singh told The Indian Express, at the family home in Palwal. Read more here

06:55 (IST)06 Jun 2019
Among 13 missing, son of ex-CO of Chandigarh-based Squadron

A pall of gloom descended upon serving and retired Air Force personnel in the city with news trickling in that the son of a former Commanding Officer of Chandigarh-based 25 Squadron is among the crew members and passengers of the missing AN-32 in Arunachal Pradesh.

The name of the father-son duo is not being revealed on the request of Indian Air Force officials as the fate of the passengers is still not known. The search for the aircraft is still on and it has been hampered by bouts of bad weather. Read more here

21:03 (IST)05 Jun 2019
No signals received from plane's emergency locator beacon

Military sources said rescuers have not received any signal from the emergency locator beacon in the missing plane, adding there is a possibility that the device may not have been functional. ISRO's Cartosat and RISAT satellites are taking images of the area around Menchuka to help the rescuers find the plane. (PTI)

20:13 (IST)05 Jun 2019
IAF deploys more aircraft to trace missing AN-32 plane

IAF sources on Wednesday said additional assets including two Sukhoi-30 aircraft were deployed on the third day to locate the missing plane apart from the fleet of C-130J and AN-32 planes and two Mi-17 and two ALH helicopters. The ground forces included troops from the Army, Indo Tibetan Border Police and state police. The two Sukhoi-30 and two C-130J aircraft will carry out night missions, they said. (PTI)

19:20 (IST)05 Jun 2019
Congress questions govt on why AN-32 fleet of IAF was not replaced

Congress expressed concern on Wednesday over the safety and well-being of the IAF personnel on board an AN-32 aircraft, and questioned the government on why it had not allocated resources to replace the obsolete AN-32 fleet. The party's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the defence minister must answer why measures were not taken after the Indian Air Force (IAF) lost an AN-32 aircraft en route to the Andaman and Nicobar islands, which was not tracked. "Pray for safety and well-being of IAF personnel and crew of missing Aircraft AN-32. Sad to know that missing AN-32 had SOS Signal Unit that's OBSOLETE. Government must tell - Why was upgradation of AN-32 not completed despite India and Ukraine agreement of 2009?," Surjewala asked on Twitter. Read more

19:01 (IST)05 Jun 2019
Indian Air Force intensifies efforts, search operations to continue throughout night

Indian Air Force tweets update, says "IAF has intensified efforts to locate the missing AN-32. Despite challenges posed by vegetation, inhospitable terrain & poor weather,the search has been expanded.All leads from airborne sensors are being closely assessed and followed-up with search by aircraft & ground teams. Search by IAF and Indian Army helicopters was adversely affected by weather during the day today. However, supported by Indian Army, Indian Navy, Police and State Administration the search efforts by ground teams and airborne sensors will continue through the night."

17:15 (IST)05 Jun 2019
Indian Air Force continues search for missing AN-32 plane

The Indian Air Force authorities, along with the help of Indian Navy, are continuing their search for the missing AN-32 plane that went missing on Monday. On Wednesday, the Indian Navy tweeted that it has deployed long-range aircraft using infra-red sensors to search dense forest. The Air Force said on Twitter that it is using satellites to take pictures of the terrain during the day and ground teams with night-vision goggles to search by night. (AP)

16:14 (IST)05 Jun 2019
Will start operation with different plan, says Jogdande on mission foreign tourists search

Vijay Kumar Jogdande, the District Magistrate of Pithoragarh, says, "after three attempts, helicopter is back in Pithoragarh. Height, geography, air turbulence at the location didn't let us operate. We'll start operation with a different plan. A team will be landed by a helicopter at a higher location where these problems don't arise. The team will be given a time of 3-4 days to get acclimatized to weather and height. Then they'll start the search operation keeping in mind their safety."

15:22 (IST)05 Jun 2019
Indian Air Force personnel, ITBP trekkers join search operation for missing foreign tourists

Four ITBP trekkers and five Air Force personnel took off from Uttarakhand's Munsyari early morning today to join the search operation of missing foreign tourists.

Antonov An-32 is a tactical transport aircraft used by the Indian Air Force and have been in service since 1984. An-32 has been a trustworthy workhorse for the IAF for many years and is designed to be extensively used.

The IAF aircraft, which took off for the Mechuka Advance Landing Ground is located in Mechuka Valley in West Siang District of Arunachal Pradesh. It is the closest landing ground to the India-China border nearing the McMohan line.

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