AN-32 Missing From Jorhat, Assam // Breaking News: AN-32 transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) that took off from Assam’s Jorhat earlier today is missing. The Antonov IAF AN-32 aircraft took off at 12:25 pm for a remote military landing strip in Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh and was carrying 13 people onboard.
The AN-32 aircraft last had contact with ground crew at 1 pm, according to media reports. The average flight time between Jorhat and Mechuka is about 50 minutes.
The Indian Air Force has launched a search operation and spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel P Khongsai said every effort was being made to locate the missing AN-32 aircraft. Soldiers of the Indian Army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police are helping in the search along with helicopters.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted about the incident.
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.
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) June 3, 2019
The terrain under the AN-32’s flight’ path is mountainous and densely forested. The landing and take-off approaches to Mechuka are extremely complicated. Coupled with challenging weather, the region is among the most inhospitable for air transport.
The AN-32 is a Soviet-designed twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft used largely by the Indian Air Force for over four decades. Since it joined the IAF fleet, the rugged planes used to ferry people and air-drop supplies have undergone several rounds of upgrades.
In 2016, an Indian Air Force An-32 disappeared while flying over the Bay of Bengal after taking off from Chennai for the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The search and rescue operation became India’s largest such operation for a missing plane on the sea in history but the aircraft was never found. All 29 people onboard were presumed dead.