No trace of An-32 plane, ISRO aids in search



More than 24 hours after it disappeared while on flight, an Indian Air Force (IAF) An-32 aircraft with 13 people on board remained untraced in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday even as a massive search operation continued.

The Navy's Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8i and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellites were pressed into service to locate the plane but without any success, officials said.

On Monday, the Russian-origin An-32 trasnporter took off from Assam's Jorhat at 12.27 p.m. for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh's Shi-Yomi district bordering China.

The aircraft lost contacted with the ground staff at 1.30 p.m.

"There is no sign of the aircraft. Search and rescue operation is on full swing," IAF spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh told IANS in Shillong.

Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, Air Marshal R.D. Mathur is at the Jorhat Air Force Station monitoring the search and rescue operations. He also interacted with the families of the missing IAF personnel.

Mathur was briefed about the coordinated efforts by the Indian Army, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and other civil agencies.

The Navy aircraft departed from INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu and shall carry out the search with Electro Optical and Infra Red sensors in the thickly forested areas between Jorhat and Mechuka where the An-32 disappeared, a Navy official said.

The ISRO has pressed into service its RISAT series of radar imaging satellites to look for the missing aircraft.

On Monday, C-130 and An-32 aircraft, two Mi-17 (IAF) and Army ALH helicopters were launched to locate the plane.

No wreckage has been sighted so far, spokesman Singh said.

The administration of Shi-Yomi district in Arunachal Pradesh is also being assisted by villagers. IANS