India Air Force An-32 disappears with 13 on board

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –An Indian military aircraft with 13 people on board went missing Monday, June 3 in the northeast of the country, the defense ministry said.

The Russian-built Antonov An-32 took off from Jorhat in Assam state at 12:25 p.m. (0655 GMT) headed for Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China.

“The aircraft last contacted ground agencies at 1300 hrs, thereafter there has been no contact,” the defense ministry said in a statement.

“A total of eight crew and five passengers were onboard the aircraft,” it said.

Spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel P. Khongsai said every effort was being made to locate the missing plane.

Crashes by India’s sizeable fleet of ageing Russian military aircraft are relatively common.

In March, an IAF MiG-21 Bison jet was on a routine sortie from Air Force Station Nal in western Rajasthan state when it crashed near Bikaner near the India-Pakistan border. The crash was later blamed on a bird strike.

On January 28, an Indian Air Force SEPECAT Jaguar fighter jet crashed shortly after takeoff in Uttar Pradesh. Three days later, a Mirage 2000 fighter jet crashed in Bangalore during a routine testing flight, killing two pilots.

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