IAF AN-32 HIGHLIGHTS: No breakthrough in search for missing aircraft; operations to continue overnighthttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/iaf-anton-an-32-missing-live-updates-mechuka-arunachal-pradesh-5762872/

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.

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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

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.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met pilot Ashish Tanwar's family members

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. 

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)

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)

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)

AP CM: Search operation for missing aircraft intensified

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)

Family of Ashish Tanwar seeks govt help

Search and rescue operation enters fourth day

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

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

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

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)

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)

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

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."

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)

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."

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.

IAF undertakes mission to retrieve bodies of climbers' killed in avalanche in Himalayas

An Indian air force helicopter undertook a mission to remove the bodies of five missing climbers believed killed in an avalanche high in the Himalayas was halted after encountering technical problems, officials said. Eight climbers - four from Britain, two from the United States, and one each from Australia and India - were reported missing last Friday after they failed to return to their base camp near Nanda Devi, the second highest mountain. An IAF helicopter on Monday spotted five bodies partially buried in snow high on a slope. "No bodies have so far been recovered from the three initial sorties this morning," said Vijay K Jogdande, the top government official in the remote mountain area. (Reuters)

Search and rescue operation resumes

As the weather improved, two Mi-17 and two ALH, including one from Army resumed the search and rescue operation.

Why is IAF flying ageing planes: Family of officer on board AN-32 that went missing in 2016

For the family members of Flight Lieutenant Kunal Barpatte, the search for Indian Air Force’s AN-32 aircraft, which went missing after taking off from Jorhat on Monday, has once again raised some pertinent questions which have remained unanswered for three years.

Flight Lieutenant Kunal was among the 29 people on board an AN-32 aircraft that went missing over the Bay of Bengal in July 2016. All those on board have been presumed dead by the Indian Air Force. Read more here

Fighter jet Sukhoi-30MKI unable to spot anything in recce

Sukhoi-30MKI is carrying out recce since morning, after flying missions at night. It was unable to spot anything. The helicopters and C130J were unable to take off due to bad weather.

IAF aircraft still missing as Navy, ISRO join search

An Indian Navy aircraft and ISRO satellites joined the search for the missing AN-32 on Tuesday, while the Army, the ITBP and the district police continued the hunt on the ground.

The official Twitter account of the IAF posted, “#SearchAndRescue Ops: #IAF continues extensive efforts to locate the missing #AN32. P-8 I of #IndianNavy, satellites like RISAT and aircraft equipped with multiple sensors have joined the concerted efforts to locate the missing aircraft. Continuous coordination is being carried out with Indian Army & various govt & civil agencies.” Read more here 

Dad of IAF officer aboard missing AN-32 in 2016 shares anguish

The disappearance of an AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force has brought back painful memories for 62-year-old Rajendra Barpatte, father of an IAF officer who was among 29 persons on board the same type of aircraft that went missing three years ago. These ageing planes should be replaced as they are jeopardising the lives of those who fly them, Barpatte said. (PTI)

No signal received from missing aircraft: Military sources

Rescuers have not received any signal from the missing plane as the device on board the aircraft may not have been functional, PTI quoted sources in the military.

Search by helicopters ceased for today; night sensors, ground teams to continue search all night: IAF

IAF Tuesday said after sunset, search by helicopters has ceased for today, however, search by sensors with night capability and ground teams will continue throughout the night.

IAF assured all possible assistance to the Army, navy, police and state administration for searching the aircraft. Further, it said, CARTOSAT and RISAT satellites of ISRO are capturing images of the area. "The families of all air-warriors onboard the aircraft have been informed & are being updated regularly on the progress of the search operations," IAF wrote on Twitter.

Indian Army, Navy, IAF, ISRO have joined search ops: Group Capt Banerjee

Group Captain Anupam Banerjee Tuesday said the Indian Army, Navy, IAF and ISRO have joined the search operation. He said the Army personnel are doing the ground search, while the Navy joined at P-8i. Further, he said that the ISRO satellites are being used to take pictures of the area which will be anlaysed and used further in the search operation.

"ISRO satellites are also being used for photographing this area which will be analysed & used for further search operation. Next of kin of all the missing personnel have been informed about the search effort. We are in constant touch with them.It's a little difficult terrain to carry out search op because there's thick vegetation. It is a difficult op however we are using all our means, the electronic means, the electro-optical means. After analysing this we will do the visual lookout. Today P-8I aircraft of Navy also joined in search op. Army personnel are doing ground search&joined in with ALH Helicopter. Navy joined at P-8I. Local police&admn are helping Air Force to locate the aircraft," Banerjee said.

Indian Navy satellites join in search ops

Aircraft's last contact with ground was at 1 pm: IAF

The IAF on Monday issued a statement saying the aircraft took off from Jorhat at 12.27 pm for the Menchuka advance landing ground in Shi-Yomi district in Arunachal Pradesh, and its last contact with the ground control was at 1 pm.

The IAF has deployed C-130J and AN-32 aircraft besides two Mi-17 choppers while the Indian Army has pressed into service advance light helicopters to locate the missing Antonov AN-32 aircraft.

Fleet of fixed-wing aircraft, choppers deployed, officials say

Indian Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma said the P8i aircraft took off from INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu's Arakonam around 1 pm to join the search and rescue operation to trace the missing AN-32.

A fleet of fixed-wing aircraft and choppers were deployed to locate the missing Antonov AN-32 aircraft in the mountainous terrain in and around Menchuka, PTI quoted officials as saying. They said ground troops have also been deployed to carry out search operation.

ISRO satellites in service over Arunachal and Assam to locate missing aircraft

ISRO satellites have been pressed into service over parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam to locate the missing AN-32 transport aircraft with 13 people on board. Su-30MKI, C-130J Super Hercules and other assets are continuing search operations in cloudy weather.


Indian Navy to use P8i aircraft to locate the missing IAF AN-32

The Indian Navy is using the P8i aircraft to locate the missing IAF AN-32. It has a very powerful Synthetic Aperture Radar which shall be utilised during the SAR sweeps to locate the missing.

Pray for safety of personnel: Ashok Gehlot tweets on missing IAF aircraft

I pray for the safety and well - being of the IAF personnel and crew of the missing AN-32 aircraft, Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot tweeted.

IAF says received reports of crash, but no wreckage sighted yet

IAF PRO Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said: “Some ground reports were received on possible location of a crash site. Helicopters were routed to the location. However, no wreckage has been sighted so far,” he said.

The IAF was coordinating with the Indian Army as well as government and civil agencies to locate the missing aircraft. 

What is AN-32 aircraft

The AN-32 is a Soviet-designed twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft which was first inducted in the IAF in 1984. Having undergone several upgrades, it has been the workhorse of the IAF transport fleet in border areas.

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. All 29 people on board were presumed dead.

IAF AN-32 aircraft still untraceable, search operation underway

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. 

No signs of wreckage

Sources in the Indian Air Forces maintained that no signs of wreckage could be located so far. The IAF has deployed a package of Sukho, Mi-17 helicopters, C-130 in search and rescue operations in the north eastern region. 

IAF conducts search and rescue ops

“Efforts are on to establish the whereabouts of the aircraft. C-130J, AN-32 and Mi-17 of IAF and Indian Army ALH helicopter launched to locate the missing aircraft. Some reports of possible location of the crash site were received, however, no wreckage has been sighted so far. IAF is coordinating with the Indian Army, various government and civil agencies to locate the missing aircraft. Search operations will continue from the air and by ground parties of Indian Army through the night,” IAF PRO Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said in a statement.

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.