An Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft airborne today from Jorhat, Assam and headed towards Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh has gone missing with 13 people onboard. The Soviet-made Antonov made transport aircraft took off from Jorhat air base at 12.25 pm and was last contacted by ground agencies at 1 pm following which contact was lost, sources told News18.com.
Helicopters were routed to the location, however, no wreckage has been sighted so far. IAF is coordinating with the Indian Army as well as various government and civil agencies to locate the missing aircraft. A total of 8 IAF crew members and 5 passengers were onboard the aircraft. Newly appointed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took to Twitter and said he is keeping track of the situation.
He also said he has spoken to Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force and taken stock of the missing aircraft. A Sukhoi Su-30MKI and C-130 Hercules was deployed to carry out aerial searches. On the ground, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police has been deployed to carry out search and rescue operations.
While further details are awaited, this is not the first time an AN-32 of IAF has gone missing. There has been 4 big crashes in the past too. Here’s a list of all the previous AN-32 crashes-
- The first reported Indian Air Force AN-32 was on 25th March 1986, when the aircraft disappeared over the Arabian Sea. It was a delivery flight from the Soviet Union with 7 people onboard and no trace was ever found.
- Four years later, another IAF AN-32 plane crashed, this time in Kerala’s Ponmudi Mountain range enroute to Thiruvananthapuram.
- On 10 June 2009, an IAF AN-32 crashed in Arunachal Padesh killing all 13 people onboard. Soon after India upgraded the aircrafts.
- An IAF AN-32 travelling from Chennai to Port Blair went missing on 22 July 2016 with 29 people onboard. After searching the plane for few days, the search was called off, declaring all the people presumably dead.