The Indian Air Force and other agencies helping it to locate its missing AN-32 aircraft resumed aerial searches on Monday after a two-day pause, PTI reported. The search operations had to be halted as a fleet of helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles, and C-130J aircraft being used by rescuers were hindered by rain and poor weather.
The transporter aircraft, which had eight crew members and five passengers on board, went missing 33 minutes after taking off from Jorhat in Assam on June 3. It was heading to Menchuka in Arunachal Pradesh, near the China border. The Indian Air Force, Army, Navy, paramilitary forces, district officials, and local people have been looking for the aircraft in the remote Mechuka Valley. Seven mountaineers, including two who have scaled Mount Everest, joined the search operations on Sunday.
“Helicopters and C-130J aircraft were carrying out aerial search operations during the day, while it will be continued during the night by UAV and C-130J aircraft to locate the missing aircraft,” said Air Force spokesperson Ratnakar Singh.
The Air Force said a marginal improvement in the weather on Monday made it possible to intensify the search. “Based on various available inputs, search area was expanded,” it said. “Ground forces also increased the search. Search will continue throughout the night by airborne sensors and ground teams. IAF is committed in finding the missing air-warriors.”
The Air Force is using radar, and optical and infrared sensors, including satellites, to scan the area. It has announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh for information about the missing plane.