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No trace of missing IAF AN-32 even after 24 hours, Navy's P8i plane joins search operation

The AN-32 aircraft had taken off from Jorhat in Assam but lost contact with ground staff before its scheduled landing in Arunachal Pradesh's Mechuka airfield.

No trace of missing IAF AN-32 even after 24 hours, Navy's P8i plane joins search operation

The search operation for the Indian Air Force’s AN-32 transport aircraft, which went missing with 13 people onboard from Assam’s Jorhat on Monday, was stepped up by the authorities on Tuesday. The latest to join the search operations is Indian Navy’s Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8i.

The P8i aircraft took off at 1 pm on Tuesday from INS Rajali, which is stationed at Arakonam in Tamil Nadu.

Confirming the development, the Indian Navy wrote on microblogging site Twitter, “Indian Navy Long Range Maritime Reconnaisance aircraft P8i takes off from INS Rajali, Arakonam, Tamil Nadu at 1300h and heads for joining the Search & Rescue operation launched by @IAF_MCC to locate the missing #AN32 between Jorhat & Mechuka. Aircraft to reach in area shortly”.

Apart from the P8i aircraft, satellites of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have also been pressed into service over parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam to help in locating the missing transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

Notably, ground patrols of Indian Army, C130 J super Hercules and Su-30 MKI are already a part of the ongoing search and rescue operation.

All efforts are being made to locate the missing aircraft. Though there were reports of wreckage of the aircraft being spotted near Tato in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh, the same were dismissed by IAF authorities.

The AN-32 aircraft had taken off from Jorhat in Assam but lost contact with ground staff before its scheduled landing in Arunachal Pradesh's Mechuka airfield.

There were 13 people - all IAF personnel - on board when the aircraft took off from Jorhat. The aircraft took off 12:25 PM and its last contact with ground staff was at 1 pm. After the AN-32 did not reach Mechuka Advance Landing Ground, the IAF initiated the overdue action.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has assured that the situation is being monitored closely and all necessary actions are being taken.