An aerial view of the region clicked from a search aircraft in Arunachal Pradesh Credit: EastMojo image

Itanagar: With search and rescue efforts entering the seventh day on Sunday, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has launched a massive search operation to trace the whereabouts of the AN-32 aircraft that went off the radar near Aalo in Arunachal Pradesh on June 3.

EastMojo got access to some exclusive images shot from one of the aircraft involved in the search operation over the region. Our best wishes with the men in uniform for their untiring efforts to locate the ill-fated aircraft that was on its way to the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground from Jorhat on that day.

Our prayers are also with the 13 people, who were on board the plane, and their families who are spending sleepness nights in Jorhat waiting for clarity and information.

Meanwhile, the IAF has brought into operation resources from various agencies, including ISRO, the Indian Navy, Indian Army, state police, district administrations and local residents, among others, to enhance its effectiveness.

However, what’s making the efforts a bit difficult is the fact that the area of search is mountainous and heavily forested with thick undergrowth. “Weather has been inclement with low clouds & rain during most hours. Combined with the inhospitable terrain, it has posed serious challenges to aerial search operations,” the IAF tweeted on Saturday.

“Search by ground teams of #IndianArmy, #ITBP, State Police and members of local population has continued in full force today. However, aerial search could not be undertaken due to poor weather conditions prevailing throughout the day,” the IAF further tweeted.

Significantly, the IAF has increased the deployment of its aircraft and has expanded the search area. “More & more area is being covered by airborne sensors and satellites and the imaging is being followed-up by close analysis of data for its synergistic amalgamation in search ops,” it said.

On Saturday, Air Marshal RD Mathur, AOC-in-C, Eastern Air Command, announced a cash award of Rs 5 lakh for the person(s) or group, who provide(s) credible information leading to the ill-fated aircraft.

Anyone with any information, whatsoever, may contact the Indian Air Force (IAF) on the following numbers:

  • +91-378-3222164
  • +91-9436499477, 9402077267, 9402132477

This was after Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, the Chief of Air Staff, visited the Air Force Station in Jorhat, Assam to assess the ongoing search operations, earlier on Saturday. Dhanoa 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, said reports.

Also Read: SOS: IAF announces Rs 5 lakh award for info on missing AN-32

The AN-32 aircraft took off from Jorhat in Assam around 12.25 pm on June 3 and was flying to the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh’s Shi Yomi district when it went missing near Aalo around 1 pm. It was carrying 13 passengers on board.

Immediately thereafter, the IAF deployed all available resources, including Sukhoi Su-30 combat fighter jets and C-130J Hercules special operations aircraft to locate the missing aircraft. Troops on ground too were fanned out to hunt for the missing plane.

Also Read: IAF chief BS Dhanoa visits Assam, reviews ops for missing AN-32

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