New Delhi: The Indian Navy on Tuesday deployed a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft to trace the AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force that went missing around the thickly-forested Menchuka area in Arunachal Pradesh even as search operations continue on a massive scale.
The AN-32, with 13 people on board, went missing on Monday afternoon 35 minutes after taking off from the Jorhat airbase in Assam for Menchuka near the border with China.
“The P8i aircraft has a very powerful Synthetic Aperture Radar which shall be utilised during the SAR sweeps to locate the missing @IAF_MCC #AN32. The aircraft shall carry out search with Electro Optical and Infra Red (EO & IR) sensors in thickly forested areas,” Navy spokesperson Capt. D.K. Sharma tweeted.
Capt. Sharma said the P8i aircraft took off from INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu’s Arakonam around 1 pm to join the search and rescue operations to trace the missing AN-32. Already, a fleet of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters have been deployed to locate the missing AN-32 aircraft in and around Menchuka. Ground troops too have been deployed to carry out search operations. The IAF said on Tuesday that extensive efforts are on to locate the AN-32. “The Indian Air Force search and rescue operations and launched C-130, AN-32, Mi-17 and ALH (Indian Army) helicopters. The aircraft are equipped with advanced sensors. Indian Navy P-8i aircraft joined the search operations today. CARTOSAT AND RISAT satellites of Isro are also taking images of the area. Post sunset, search by helicopters have ceased for the day. However, search by all sensors with night capability and the ground party will continue throughout the night. All possible assistance is being provided by Indian Army, Indian Navy, the police and state administration. The families of all air warriors on board the aircraft have been informed and are being regularly updated on the progress of the search for the missing aircraft,” the IAF said.