Search for Indian air force plane lost near China enters fourth day

South Asia

The search for an Indian air force (IAF) plane with 13 people on board, which went missing on Monday near the border with China, entered its fourth day on Thursday, news agency ANI reported.

“The area of search has been expanded and more assets, including smaller and more maneuverable helicopters like cheetah have been included in the rescue mission so as to approach areas inaccessible by bigger helicopters or individuals on foot,” said ANI quoting IAF.

“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.”

A day earlier, Indian navy tweeted that it has deployed long-range aircraft using infra-red sensors to search dense forest. The Indian air force said on Twitter that it is using satellites to take pictures of the terrain during the day and ground teams with night-vision goggles to search by night.

The AN-32 aircraft, which is typically used for transport, took off from Assam state’s Jorhat town for Menchuka in Arunachal Pradesh state but lost contact with ground agencies at around 1pm on Monday.

“Since the aircraft did not reach the airfield, overdue action was initiated,” a government official had said earlier. “A total of eight crew and five passengers were on board.”

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who assumed charge of the ministry last week, had said he was in touch with senior air force officials.

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