New Delhi: The Indian Air Force on Saturday announced a reward of Rs 5 lakh to anyone providing information about location of the AN-32 transport aircraft which went missing six days ago around remote Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh.
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Air Command Air Marshal R D Mathur made the announcement of the cash reward as the aircraft could not be located after six days of massive search operation.
"While the search for the missing aircraft is on, Air Marshal RD Mathur, AOC-in-C of Eastern Air Command, has announced a cash award of Rs 5 Lakh for person(s) or group who provide credible information leading to finding of the aircraft," a Shillong-based spokesperson of the IAF said.
Phone numbers for sharing information relating to the aircraft are — 9436499477 / 9402077267 / 9402132477, he said.
Search operations to trace the Indian Air Force (IAF) AN-32 aircraft, which went missing earlier this week, failed to yield any result for the sixth consecutive day on Saturday, despite concerted efforts by various agencies.
With eight crew members and five armed forces personnel onboard, the IAF aircraft apparently lost contact with the ground control before it went off radar on June 3.
According to reports, the Russian-made plane, which was on its way to Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh from Jorhat in Assam, went missing 33 minutes after it took off at 12.27 am.
A statement issued by IAF spokesman Ratnakar Singh said the search team has been trying to trace the aircraft with advanced technology and sensors sourced from different agencies, including ISRO satellites.
"The inhospitable terrain and thick vegetation is affecting the mission. Add to that, inclement weather and low visibility throughout the day posed a serious challenge to the aerial operations," he said.
Along with local people, the Indian Army, the state police and the ITBP carried out intense search operation all Saturday to no avail, Singh rued.
"The IAF has increased the deployment of its helicopters and transport aircraft for the operation and expanded the search area significantly over the past few days.
"The data and imaging collected from airborne sensors and satellites are being analysed closely for clues," he maintained.
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, had visited Jorhat on Saturday to assess the ongoing search operations, Singh said.
Dhanoa was given a detailed briefing about the operations and apprised of the situation, following which he met the families of the officers and the airmen, who were on board the IAF plane, he added.