NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh for anyone providing credible information about the location of its missing transport aircraft AN 32.
The announcement was made by Air Marshal RD Mathur, AOC-in-C, Eastern Air Command in Shillong.
''While the search for the missing aircraft is on, Air Marshal RD Mathur, AOC-in-C, Eastern Air Command, has announced a cash award of Rs 5 Lakh for the person (s) or group who provide credible information leading to finding of the aircraft,'' the Defence PRO, Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said.
Finder may contact the Air Force on the following numbers - Landline: 0378-3222164; Mobile: 9436499477 / 9402077267 / 9402132477.
Singh added that the Air Force is using all it's assets and taking help of the Army, Arunachal Pradesh civil authorities and other national agencies to locate the missing aircraft.
The announcement came after the aerial search operation to trace the missing transport aircraft of the IAF in remote Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh was halted due to poor weather conditions on Saturday.
However, the ground troops continued combing the mountainous area for the sixth consecutive day.
Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa too arrived in Assam and reviewed the overall search operation at a high-level meeting at the Jorhat air base from where the AN-32 aircraft, with 13 people on board, had taken off for Mechuka advanced landing ground on Monday.
"Air Chief Marshal Dhanoa was given a detailed briefing about the operations and was apprised with the inputs received so far. He interacted with families of the officers and airmen who were onboard the aircraft," an IAF spokesperson was quoted as saying by PTI.
Today, #CAS visited Air Force Station #Jorhat to assess the ongoing search operations. He was given a detailed briefing about the operations and was apprised with inputs received so far. He interacted with families of the officers and airmen who were onboard the aircraft. 6/6
— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 8, 2019
Despite combined efforts of several agencies, there has been no breakthrough yet.
The assets deployed for the operation include Sukhoi-30 aircraft in addition to a fleet of C-130J and AN-32 planes and Mi-17 and ALH helicopters. The ground forces include troops from the Army, Indo Tibetan Border Police and state police.
"The area of search is mountainous and heavily forested with thick undergrowth. The weather in the area has been inclement with low clouds and rain during most hours," said the IAF spokesperson.
"Combined with the inhospitable terrain, the weather has posed serious challenges to aerial search operations," the official added.
The IAF has also been regularly updating the families of all air-warriors on board the aircraft about the rescue operation.
The Indian Navy's P-8I aircraft was deployed earlier this week as it has electro-optical and infra-red sensors which could be helpful in the search operation.
Besides, ISRO's Cartosat and RISAT satellites are taking images of the area around Menchuka to help the rescuers find the plane.
The AN-32 aircraft took off from Jorhat at 12.27 pm for the Menchuka advance landing ground and its last contact with the ground control was at 1 PM.
A total of eight crew members and five passengers were on board the aircraft.
The AN-32 is a Russian origin aircraft and the IAF currently operates a sizeable number of it. It is a twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft.
(With Agency Inputs)