IAF AN-32 Aircraft: After eight days of intensive search involving satellite imagery and P8i reconnaissance aircraft of Indian Navy, an Indian Air Force helicopter was finally able to spot the wreckage of missing AN-32 aircraft in a hilltop in Arunachal Pradesh.
A Russian made transport aircraft of Indian Air Force had gone missing on June 3.
In a tweet, Indian Air Force confirmed that one of the IAF M-17 helicopter engaged in the search has spotted the wreckage 16 kilometers north of Lipo, North East of Tato, at an approximate height of 12,000 feet.
The AN-32 had taken off from Jorhat airbase in Assam and was going to advanced landing zone in Mechuka, near China border in Arunachal Pradesh.
“We are trying to establish the status of occupants and survivors,” IAF said in a statement.
The AN-32 aircraft carrying six officers, five airmen and two non-combatants personnel on board.
The weather over the region was turbulent on the day and aircraft had lost the contact with ground control nearly half an hour after the take off.
The Mechuka Advance Landing Ground is located in Mechuka Valley in West Siang District of border state Arunachal Pradesh. The landing zone close to India-China border near the McMohan line.
Though, AN-32 is described as Indian Air Force’s workhorse, meeting its crucial transport requirements, however, it has high accident rate as well.
According to reports, IAF has lost 18 AN-32 transport planes since its induction. And all the aircraft have been lost to accident during the peace time.
Indian Air Force Chief Air Marshal BS Dhanoa had visited the Jorhat base in Assam on Saturday and interacted with families of crew members. This is for the first time that IAF had deployed resources like drones and satellite imagery coupled with ISRO satellite to locate a missing aircraft within the country.
It had also asked for India’s Navy’s help as its long range maritime surveillance aircraft P8i of US origin was considered to have advanced radars and antennas to scan the difficult hilly terrain.