The search for Indian Air Force’s AN-32 aircraft which went missing on July 22 with 29 personnel onboard entered the fifth day today. The Navy, the Coast Guard and the Air Force are running a joint operation to locate the aircraft which has been termed as the workhorse of the IAF though many argue that the fleet has outrun its life since it was inducted 30 years back in 1984.
A matter of “concern” is that the Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) on the aircraft did not function which has made the search operation very tough. It is worth noting that the aircraft which went missing on Thursday had reported three technical snags within a period of less than two weeks this month. The last crash of an AN-32 was reported in 2009 in Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh, where 13 people died. Before that, an AN-32 aircraft had crashed in Delhi in 1999, killing 21 people.
Responding to questions about quality of AN-32 during the Question Hour of the Parliament, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar asserted that it is one of the “safest” aircraft and there have been reports of only two accidents in the last ten years.