Indian Air Force An-32 carrying 13 people on board still missing

Three days after an Indian Air Force An-32 transport plane disappeared near the Chinese border with 13 people on board, the wreckage is still missing.

On June 3, 2019, the Antonov An-32 twin-engine turboprop transport aircraft took off from Jorhat in the northeastern state of Assam before losing contact with ground control about 30 minutes into its flight. Eight crew members and five passengers, all belonging to the Indian Air Force (IAF), were on board.

Despite the help of several branches of the Indian army, the search has been challenging, as the crash site is located in a remote area, densely forested and with difficult terrain. The operations have also been facing poor weather in the form of heavy rain on June 5, 2019, forcing the search to be halted for the day. The crash site has yet to be found.

The Indian Navy deployed a Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft P8i equipped with infra-red sensors to search through the dense vegetation. As for the IAF, it relies on satellite imagery during the day and ground teams with night-vision goggles by night.

Another Antonov An-32 belonging to the IAF had disappeared on July 22, 2016, above the Bay of Bengal, with 29 people on board. Despite a large-scale search and rescue operation, the wreckage was never found.

The Antonov An-32 is a remotorized version of the An-26. Despite being a Soviet plane, the IAF was the first and remains the main operator of the An-32, with an initial order for 103 aircraft in 1977, and an additional twenty ordered in 1980.

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