No trace of missing An-32 despite massive search

Guwahati: Despite a massive search operation, an Indian Air Force (IAF) An-32 aircraft that went missing with 13 people on board a day earlier near the China border in Arunachal Pradesh remained untraced on Tuesday.

The authorities have deployed the Navy’s P-8I aircraft to find traces of the missing plane that took off from Jorhat in Assam after noon on Monday on its way to Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh but lost contact with ground agencies 35 minutes later.

Defence Ministry spokesman and Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said the searches were being carried out by the Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and various government and civil agencies.

But there was no sign of the plane or its wreckage.

On Tuesday, the Navy’s long-range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P-8I took off from INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu to join the search and rescue operation, Singh said.

Navy officials said the P-8I is equipped with sensors for maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine operations and electronic intelligence missions.

The aircraft is fully integrated with state-of-the-art sensors and highly potent anti-surface and anti-submarine weapons.

“The P-8I aircraft has a very powerful Synthetic Aperture Radar which shall be utilised during the SAR sweeps to locate the missing” plane, a Navy spokesman tweeted.

On Monday, C-130, An-32 aircraft, two Mi-17 of IAF and Army’s ALH helicopters were launched to locate the missing aircraft.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has also pressed into service satellites to help the rescuers.