An Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft airborne today from Jorhat, Assam and headed towards Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh has reportedly gone missing.
The aircraft took off from Jorhat air base at 12.25 pm and was last contacted by ground agencies at 1 pm following which contact was lost, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
A total of 13 IAF crew members were onboard the aircraft.
New appointed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh took to Twitter to share that he is keeping track of the situation. He says he has spoken to Vice Chief of the Indian Air Force to take stock of the missing aircraft and the steps taken to track it.
Spokesman of the Defence Ministry, Lieutenant-Colonel P. Khongsai said every effort was being made to locate the missing plane.
All available sources have been employed to locate the aircraft including a Sukhoi, C-130 special Ops aircraft and several helicopters to carry out aerial searches.
According to the sources, the Mechuka area in Arunachal Pradesh is a very densely forested area. Only an aerial sorty will be able to conclusively establish if there are any survivors. However, with under two hours to go until sunset in the North Eastern state, search operations may be hampered.
On the ground, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Border Roads Organisation and the state police have been deployed to carry out search and rescue operations.
The Mechuka Advance Landing Ground, where the aircraft was supposed to land, was reactivated on July 12 last year. It was non-functional since 2013.