IAF's AN-32 Aircraft Search Operation to Continue Throughout Night; Cheetah Helicopters, India Army Personnel Pressed Into Service
File image of IAF AN-32 transport aircraft | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi/Guwahati, June 6: Three days after the Indian Air Force's AN-32 went missing with 13 personnel on board in the densely-forested hilly terrain of Arunachal Pradesh, IAF has expanded the rescue mission and deployed Cheetah helicopters on Thursday. The IAF also informed that that search operation would continue throughout the night.

Informing more about the development, IAf through its Twitter handle, mentioned, "IAF Missing AN-32 search continues. The area of search has been expanded and more assets including smaller and more manoeuvrable helicopters like cheetah have been included in the rescue mission so as to approach areas inaccessible by bigger helicopters or individuals on foot." Missing IAF AN-32 Aircraft- Know All About This Ageing Transport Plane

Adding more, it said, "Search by IAF and Indian Army helicopters was adversely affected by localised weather in the valleys. All leads from airborne sensors including by Indian Navy being closely assessed and followed-up with search by aircraft and ground teams. The search will continue through the night."

Earlier on Wednesday, though advanced helicopters like C-130 Super Hercules, SU-30s, C-130J, Mi17 helicopters, Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) and P8i were deployed, the wreckage couldn't be traced. Even the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) satellites were pressed into service to locate the plane but without any success. IAF AN-32 Aircraft Search Operation Halted For Day Due to Bad Light and Weather, Inhospitable Terrain Main Hurdle Ahead of Rescue Teams

With situation going out of control and inhospitable terrain and poor weather playing a spoilsport for the search teams, the rescue operations were halted for the night on Wednesday, but now personnel from Indian Army, Indian Navy, state police and paramilitary forces have been pressed into service.

According to the IAF, the delay in search operation is taking place as the search and rescue beacon (device designed to attract attention to a specific location), installed on board the missing plane is old and has not been in production for 14 years. Apart from this, the rescuers are not able to pick up signals from the emergency locator beacon fitted in the cargo compartment of the aircraft. Missing IAF AN-32 Plane Had SOS Signal Unit That is Old and No Longer Produced

It is to be known that on June 3, AN-32, with 13 onboard, stopped communicating with ground controllers at 1 pm. The aircraft had 13 persons on board, including six officers and seven others. The Russian-origin An-32 transporter took off from Assam's Jorhat at 12.27 pm for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh's Shi-Yomi district bordering China.