On Thursday, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said that the team has sharpened the search operation to trace the An-32 which has been missing in Arunachal Pradesh after taking off from Assam’s Jorhat. In the operation, the IAF has deployed more assets and roped in the local civic and police agencies in its effort.

The aircraft, which was made by Russia, took off at 12.27 pm on Monday for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground. The ground control was able to reach it lastly at 1 pm.

On board, there was a total of 13 people among them eight were aircrew and five were passengers. All the three armed forces are trying their best to trace the missing aircraft with all of their strength.

However, the search-and0-rescue (SAR) operation are facing some difficulties in their operation for the difficult terrain and rough weather. Sources said that the rescuers have not received any signal from the emergency locator beacon in the missing plane and they are suspecting that the device may not have been functional.

According to the IAF, they had deployed four Mi-17 helicopters, three advanced light helicopters, of which two belonged to the Army, one C-130 transporter, two Sukhoi-30 aircraft and one Unmanned Aerial Vehicle of the Army.

The sources said today that two Cheetah helicopters will also join the search operations. The IAF in a statement said “The IAF has further intensified and expanded the search for the missing An-32. Fighter aircraft, C130, helicopters, aircraft carrying specialized sensors, satellites and all possible civil, police and local administrative agencies have further expanded search based on human and sensor inputs.”

“The search by parties on foot and night-capable aircraft will continue through the night and satellite data is being analyzed regularly,” it added. On Tuesday, the P-8i aircraft of the Indian Navy was deployed as it had electro-optical and infra-red sensors which could be helpful in the search operation.

“P-8i, aircraft of Indian Navy will again fly a sortie today morning as the weather is likely to improve slightly,” the statement said.

Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) Cartosat and RISAT satellites have been engaged to capture images of the area around Mechuka to help the rescuers in searching the plane. The statement further said, “The IAF remains committed to continued efforts to locate the aircraft and its brave air warriors. The IAF has flown more than 100 hours in search operations. No effort is being spared to locate the missing aircraft.”

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