IAF AN-32 aircraft still missing: ISRO, Navy join search operation
In an unfortunate turn of events, an AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force went missing on Monday afternoon. Soon IAF deployed all its available resources to find the plane, which went off the radar after taking off from Jorhat, Assam. However, after the search operation didn't yield positive results, ISRO's satellites and Navy's surveillance aircraft were called in. Here are more details.
Backstory: 30 minutes after take-off, aircraft lost touch with staff
The missing aircraft took off at 12:27 PM. It was bound for landing ground at Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh's West Siang district. At 1 PM, the transport lost touch with ground staff, alerting officials. Of the 13 passengers traveling, eight are crew members and five are passengers. Subsequently, IAF scouted through the air and soldiers traveled in thick forests looking for the plane.
It was reported that aircraft crashed, but IAF rubbished claims
IAF and Indian Army looked for the aircraft through the night. IAF kept two planes C-130 and AN-32 in the air to trace the missing aircraft. Meanwhile, two choppers were also deployed. Notably, reports claimed that the aircraft crashed but IAF refuted the rumors. "Helicopters were routed to the location, however, no wreckage has been sighted so far," IAF said in a statement.
Navy and ISRO have also stepped up
The overnight operation didn't bring any good news prompting Navy and ISRO to help. Reportedly, Navy has sent its US-made P8i naval maritime aircraft to look for the missing plane. Meanwhile, ISRO's satellites like RISAT (Radar Imaging Satellite) have also been roped in. Till now, the search team had been focusing on nearby areas, but now the operation will be widened.
The SOS signal in aircraft could have been faulty
The missing aircraft had a Sarbe-8 ELT (Search and Rescue Beacon) equipment. It is capable of sending distress frequencies like 121.5 MHz, 242.1 MHz, and 406 MHz. However, according to an NDTV report, the SOS signal unit hasn't been in production for last 14 years.
Meanwhile, family of IAF pilot is awaiting his return
As distressing reports of the aircraft was flashed over the news, silence took over a family in Punjab's Patiala. 27-year-old IAF pilot Mohit Garg is one of the 13 people who are on board the plane. He got married a year ago to a Jalandhar resident, who works at a bank in Assam. Mohit's brother Ashwani said the family is praying for his return.