With eight crew members and five passengers on board, an Antonov AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force has gone missing near the Chinese border. The aircraft which got airborne on Monday from Jorhat at 1225 hrs for Menchuka Advance Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh. The Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground is located about 60 km from the Indo-Chinese Line of Actual Control (LAC).
According to sources the aircraft last contacted ground agencies at 1300 hrs, thereafter there has been no contact. “Since the aircraft did not reach the airfield, overdue action was initiated by IAF. All available resources have been employed to locate the aircraft.”
The IAF at present operates five squadrons of about 100 AN-32s which were inducted in 1984 and is used for carrying Army troops and supplies for them in forward areas along the Line of Control with Pakistan (LOC) and LAC with China.
AN-32 transport aircraft had disappeared over the Bay of Bengal with 29 people onboard in 2016. At that time the plane had taken off from an airbase in Chennai and was headed to Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In that case, the contact with the plane was lost after an hour of its take off from the Tambaram Air Force Station, Chennai.
In one of the biggest search operations launched by the by the Indian Air Force for a missing plane over the sea, the plane was never found and all on board were declared dead in September 2016.
Before that, in 2009, the AN-32 plane had crashed over the Rinchi Hill near Heyo village in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh killing all the 13 defence personnel on board. The wreckage of which was found about 30 km from Mechuka Advance Landing Ground.