Indian air force aircraft with 13 on board disappears near Chinese border

Published 03.06.2019 14:57

An Indian air force plane has disappeared near India's northeastern border with China with 13 people on board.

Officials say the plane was scheduled to land at 1:30 p.m. Monday at a high-altitude airstrip in Mechuka, a small town in the state of Arunachal Pradesh about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the India-China border.

Arunachal Pradesh administrator Swatika Sachan says the plane last had contact with the ground at 1 p.m.

"Spoke to Vice Chief of @IAF_MCC, Air Marshal Rakesh Singh Bhadauria regarding the missing IAF AN-32 Aircraft which is overdue for some hours. He has apprised me of the steps taken by the IAF to find the missing aircraft. I pray for the safety of all passengers on board," Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said in a Twitter post.

Local media reported that the aircraft was a transport plane.

"The Antonov AN-32 took off at 12:25 pm [0655 GMT] for a remote military landing strip in Mechuka in Arunachal Pradesh," local broadcaster NDTV reported.

"The terrain under the flight's route is mountainous and heavily-forested. The landing and take-off approaches to Mechuka are extremely difficult," the broadcaster said.

The identities of the eight crew members and other passengers were not immediately known.

A search operation comprising two air force planes and Indian army soldiers was underway.

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