Shillong: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Saturday announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh for the person(s) or group who provide credible information that would help in locating of the missing aircraft AN-32. The announcement was made by Air Marshal RD Mathur, AOC-in-C, Eastern Air Command. Meanwhile, search operations are underway. Earlier various agencies tried to trace the IAF transport aircraft. However, their efforts failed to yield any result for the sixth consecutive day on Saturday.

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. As per reports, the Russian-made plane, which was en route to Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh from Jorhat in Assam, went missing 33 minutes after it’s take off at 12.27 AM.

IAF is using all it’s assets and taking help of the Army, Arunachal Pradesh civil authorities and other national agencies to locate the missing aircraft, stated Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh, also the Defense PRO of Shillong.

Finders can contact the IAF using the numbers given below:

Landline: 0378-3222164

Mobile: 9436499477 / 9402077267 / 9402132477

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,” said Ratnakar Singh. 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,” said Singh while maintaining that, “The data and imaging collected from airborne sensors and satellites are being analysed closely for clues.” Notably, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, had visited Jorhat on Saturday to assess the ongoing search operations, stated Singh. 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.

(With agency inputs)