GUWAHATI, June 8 - Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa today reviewed the search operation to trace the AN-32 transport aircraft that went missing after it took off from Jorhat to Mechuka on Monday.
During his day-long visit to Jorhat, the IAF chief also met the families of the crew members who were on-board the aircraft.
Earlier in the morning, the search operation, which entered the sixth day today, was hampered due to bad weather, low clouds and rains.
�Mi-17s, Advanced Light Helicopters and Cheetah resumed the search at just before noon. No sighting has been done yet,� defence sources said.
Sources said the area of search is mountainous and heavily forested with thick undergrowth. The weather in the area has been inclement with low clouds and rain during most hours. Combined with the inhospitable terrain, the weather has posed serious challenges to aerial search operations.
�Search efforts by ground teams of Indian Army, ITBP, state police and members of local population continued today. Indian Air Force has increased the deployment of its helicopters and transport aircraft, and has expanded the search area significantly since the beginning of the operations,� defence spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said.
�More and more area is being covered by airborne sensors and satellites, and the imaging is being followed up by close analysis of the data for its synergistic amalgamation in the search operations,� he added.
The AN-32 with 13 people on-board, including eight crew and five passengers, took off from Jorhat at 12.27 pm on Monday for the Mechuka advanced landing ground in Shi-Yomi district in Arunachal Pradesh, and its last contact with the ground control was at 1 pm that day.
Meanwhile, Air Marshal RD Mathur, AOC-in-C, Eastern Air Command, has announced a cash award of Rs 5 lakh for the person or group who provides credible information leading to finding of the missing aircraft.