Praying for his safety, says family of IAF officer onboard missing aircraft
The Soviet-origin Antonov-32 plane carrying 13 people, including an eight-man crew, took off from Jorhat in Assam at 12.27pm and was on its way to an advanced landing ground at Mechuka in West Siang district.Updated: Jun 04, 2019, 16:08 IST
A 27-year-old IAF flight lieutenant from Punjab’s Patiala district is among the 13 people who went missing after the AN-32 military transport plane went off the radar on its way to Arunachal Pradesh’s West Siang district on Monday afternoon.
The Soviet-origin Antonov-32 plane carrying 13 people, including an eight-man crew, took off from Jorhat in Assam at 12.27pm and was on its way to an advanced landing ground at Mechuka in West Siang district. The landing ground is about 15km from the Line of Actual Control, the disputed border with China. The aircraft last contacted ground control at 1pm.
The family of Mohit Garg in Samana town, including his father Surinder Garg and uncle Rishi Garg, left for Assam soon after they received information from the Indian Air Force.
Mohit Garg got married a year ago to Jalandhar resident, who works in bank in Assam. His brother Ashwani Garg said the family is praying for Mohit’s safety.
An AN-32 can carry up to 40 men. The IAF operates around 100 AN-32s inducted in the early 1980s.
Although IAF calls it a reliable workhorse, there have been two fatal crashes over the last decade.
In July 2016, an AN-32 went down in the Bay of Bengal with 29 people on board.
Also, a decade ago, an AN-32 crashed in West Siang killing all 13 men on board. The wreckage of that plane was spotted by a search team at over 12,000ft above sea level, more than 24 hours after it went down.
An AN-32 also crashed near Palam in March 1999 killing all 18 personnel on board.