₹5 lakh reward for info on missing An-32 aircraft

Air Force and district administration offer separate award; search in hostile terrain, weather continues.

Updated - December 03, 2021 08:38 am IST

Published - June 08, 2019 02:47 pm IST - GUWAHATI

An Indian Air Force Antonov An-32 aircraft is pictured at an air force base. File

An Indian Air Force Antonov An-32 aircraft is pictured at an air force base. File

The IAF on Saturday announced an award of ₹5 lakhs for information on the An-32 aircraft with 13 persons on board that has been missing since June 3.

Air Marshal R.D. Mathur, AOC-in-C , Eastern Air Command, announced the cash award for the person(s) or group who provide credible information leading to finding of the aircraft. Earlier in the day, the Siang district administration in Arunachal Pradesh announced a cash award of ₹50,000 for information on the aircraft.

The An-32 had taken off from Jorhat in eastern Assam for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground about 30 km from the India-China border in Shi-Yomi district. Ground control lost contact with the aircraft 35 minutes after take-off.

“It is not easy for people to move through dense jungles during monsoon because of venomous snakes, leeches and toxic insects, such as the dumdum fly. The ₹50,000 [award] is to encourage them to take a risk for the cause of the IAF personnel,” a district official said, declining to be quoted.


The official also said they have engaged local hunters for the search and rescue operations. “No one knows the terrain better than them, and since they take risks to hunt for food, they are more likely to succeed in locating the aircraft than anyone else,” he added.

There have been unconfirmed reports of the armed forces offering a higher cash incentive to locals, besides a job, for locating the aircraft. The Army and the IAF denied the reports.

“Army officials have sought our help in finding the aircraft. We are trying to motivate more able-bodied men to go on hunting of a different kind,” Arun Yabu, a resident of Yapik village in Shi-Yomi district, said. He said people from neighbouring Pene, Hone, Yapik, Hirgo and Lipo villages were also part of the search.

The authorities of four districts associated with river Siang – the Arunachal Pradesh part of Tibet’s Yarlung Zangbo, which joins two other rivers to form the Brahmaputra in Assam downstream – had on Thursday formed teams of local people to search for the aircraft.

“The search and rescue operation resumed around noon because of rain and poor light in the morning,” Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh, Shillong-based defence spokesperson, said. 

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