IAF aircraft with 13 on board missing (Second Lead)
An An-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) with 13 people on board went missing in Aruanchal Pradesh on Monday after taking off from Assam, an IAF official said.
The transport aircraft was flying from Jorhat to the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground. Mechuka is a small town in Aruanchal's West Siang district bordering China.
"An An-32 aircraft of IAF got airborne today from Jorhat at 12.25 (p.m.)... The aircraft lost contact with ground agencies at 1 (p.m.). Thereafter there has been no contact," an IAF official told IANS.
"Since the aircraft did not reach the airfield, action was initiated by the IAF. All available resources have been employed to locate the plane," he said.
The Army, the Indo Tibetan Border Police and Arunachal Pradesh Police are trying to locate the missing plane, officials said.
The IAF deployed C130 transporters and helicopters on the Mechuka-Jorhat route to locate the An-32.
Guwahati-based Defence Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. P. Khongsai said that efforts were on to trace the missing aircraft.
In New Delhi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted: "Spoke to Vice Chief of @IAF_MCC, Air Marshal Rakesh Singh Bhadauria, regarding the missing IAF An-32 Aircraft which is overdue for some hours.
"He has apprised me of the steps taken by the IAF to find the missing aircraft. I pray for the safety of all passengers on board," the Minister said.
In 2009, an An-32 plane crashed over Arunachal Pradesh with 13 people on board. IANS