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On duty at Jorhat ATC, wife of Indian Air Force pilot saw AN-32 taking off, losing contact: Report

2 Sukhoi-30 And 2 C-130J Super Hercules Aircraft Are Carrying Out Night Missions In Assam And Arunachal Pradesh.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Surabhi Pandey | Updated on: 06 Jun 2019, 09:54:57 AM
The AN-32 is a Russian origin aircraft and the IAF currently operates a sizeable number of it. It is a twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft. (File Photo)

New Delhi:

Sandhya Singh was on duty at Assam’s Jorhat Air Traffic Control on the fateful day when her husband’s plane – Indian Air Force’s AN-32 with 12 other onboard — took off for the landing at Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh, an Indian Express report said on Thursday. At 12.25 pm, she saw the plane’s takeoff and at 1 pm, the blip on the radar went off and the ATC lost contact with the plane, said the report. The officer called up her family and told them what had happened. She was the closest to the uncomfortable truth. As the mega search operation enters fourth day, the stories of despair and dilemma of IAF families are coming in media.

At the Palwal home of Flight Lieutenant Ashish, the family is still reeling under shock. His uncle reminisced the time when Ashish and Sandhya went for holiday just 20 days back, the Indian Express report said. “Initially we were hopeful that may be the aircraft crossed over to China and managed to make an emergency landing, but even in that case, those on board would have made some contact by now,” Udaivir Singh was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

In Punjab’s Patiala, another family is frantically looking for updates of the missing plane. The younger son of the house, Flight Lieutenant Mohit Garg was on the same plane that went missing four days ago. The Indian Express report said that while the father of the officer has reached Assam to get details, the bed-ridden mother has not been informed as she is a heart patient.

The IAF has been regularly updating the families of all air-warriors on board the aircraft about the rescue operation. Military sources said rescuers have not received any signal from the emergency locator beacon in the missing plane, adding there is a possibility that the device may not have been functional. They said the plane that went missing is yet to be upgraded with latest avionics and radars, though some of the AN-32 were strengthened with advanced systems.

The Indian Navy's P-8I aircraft was deployed on Tuesday as it has electro-optical and infra-red sensors which could be helpful in the search operation. IAF officials said ISRO's Cartosat and RISAT satellites are taking images of the area around Menchuka to help the rescuers find the plane. They said the area has thick vegetation and difficult terrain which are making the rescue operation challenging. The IAF on Monday said the aircraft took off from Jorhat at 12.27 pm for the Menchuka advance landing ground, and its last contact with the ground control was at 1 pm. A total of eight aircrew and five passengers were on board the aircraft. The AN-32 is a Russian origin aircraft and the IAF currently operates a sizeable number of it. It is a twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft.

(With agency inputs)

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First Published : 06 Jun 2019, 09:54:57 AM