SU 30 jets have been continuing to search for the AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force which went missing after taking off from Jorhat in Assam on Monday.
After continuous recce missions for most parts of Tuesday and the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday, the jets once again took off in the morning in a bid to locate the AN-32 aircraft which had 15 people on board. The jets, however, have been unable to spot anything till the time of filing this report.
A number of helicopters as well as IAF's C-130J Super Hercules too have been part of the search operations but were unable to fly till noon on Wednesday due to bad weather in the region where the AN-32 is suspected to have gone missing. Ground operations, however, are continuing. Personnel from the Indian Army, ITBP as well as local administration are trying to locate the missing aircraft.
The AN-32 has taken off from Jorhat in Assam at 12.25 PM on Monday and was scheduled to land in Arunachal Pradesh's Menchuka airfield. The aircraft contacted ground operations at around 1 PM but was reported missing soon after when it did not land as per schedule in Mechuka.
While no effort is being spared to locate the aircraft, this is not the first time that an AN-32 of the IAF has gone missing. In June of 2009, an AN-32 had crashed over the Rinchi Hill in Arunachal Pradesh while another aircraft had gone missing after it had taken off from Chennai for Port Blair in September of 2016.
The medium-lift Ukrainian-made Antonov-32 transport aircraft had joined the IAF fleet in 1984. The force at present operates five squadrons of about 100 AN-32s.
(With inputs from Pooja Mehta/Zee Media Bureau)