Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Saturday interacted with the families of IAF personnel who were onboard the missing AN-32 aircraft and assured them that all possible steps would be taken to locate the plane and personnel.
"Today, CAS visited Air Force Station, Jorhat to assess the ongoing search operations. He was given a detailed briefing about the operations and was apprised with inputs received so far. He interacted with families of the officers and airmen who were onboard the aircraft," the IAF tweeted.
The Air Force said that the search for the missing aircraft continued "unabated" today as well. However, aerial search could not be carried due to bad weather condition prevailing in the area throughout the day.
The search operation entered the sixth day on Saturday. Helicopters were deployed today for search and rescue (SAR) operations. However, no sighting has been done yet. Search missions by other sensors will be carried during the night.
"The area of search is mountainous and heavily forested with thick undergrowth. Weather has been inclement with low clouds and rain during most hours. Combined with the inhospitable terrain, it has posed serious challenges to aerial search operations," IAF said in a series of tweets on Saturday.
"Search by ground teams of Indian Army, ITBP, State Police and members of local population has continued in full force today. However, the aerial search could not be undertaken due to poor weather conditions prevailing throughout the day," IAF said.
Massive efforts are on to locate the AN-32 transport aircraft with the Air Force deploying navy's P-8I aircraft and Global 5000 surveillance aircraft along with NTRO satellites on the fifth day since it went missing over Arunachal Pradesh. ISRO satellites have also been pressed into service.
"IAF launched a massive search operation to trace whereabouts of the AN32 soon after establishing that it didn't reach its destination within the stipulated time. Resources from various agencies, including ISRO, were brought into the operation to enhance its effectiveness," IAF said.
IAF has increased the deployment of its aircraft and has expanded the search area significantly. More and more area is being covered by airborne sensors and satellites and the imaging is being followed-up by close analysis of data for its synergistic amalgamation in search operations.
The aircraft with 13 IAF personnel onboard went missing on Monday afternoon after taking off from Assam's Jorhat. It was headed for Menchuka Advanced Landing Ground in Arunachal Pradesh when it lost contact with ground authorities at 1300 hours.
In a statement on Friday, IAF said that it is regular touch with the families of the missing air-warriors and all assistance is being provided to them.
Asserting that it is not sparing any effort to locate the missing air-warriors, the Air Force said, "IAF is not sparing any efforts in locating the missing air-warriors. We stand in support of the families in these difficult times.
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