The Indian Air Force (IAF) has announced a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh for any information on the AN-32 aircraft that went missing with 13 people onboard on June 3 after taking off from Assam's Jorhat.
Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Air Command Air Marshal R D Mathur made the announcement as the aircraft could not be located after six days of a massive search operation.
A reward of Rs 50,000 was also announced by the Arunachal Pradesh government to motivate locals to search for the aircraft.
"While the search for the missing aircraft is on, Air Marshal RD Mathur, AOC-in-C of Eastern Air Command, has announced a cash award of Rs 5 Lakh for person(s) or group who provide credible information leading to finding of the aircraft," Defence PRO of Shillong, Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh, said.
Phone numbers for sharing information related to the aircraft released by him are - 0378-3222164, 9436499477, 9402077267 and 9402132477.
Several teams involving civil administration, police and local people have been assisting IAF with the search operation on the ground, in and around the jungles of Mechuka, where the aircraft went missing.
"The ongoing search operation is being carried out by a team consisting of police, civilians, hunters and locals who have been continuously scouting the area. Additionally, all 'Gaon Burhas' (GBs or village headmen) have been engaged to aid the search operation," a senior district administration official was quoted as saying in an IANS report.
An aerial search operation could not be undertaken on Saturday due to unfavourable weather conditions. However, ground teams of the Indian Army, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), state police and locals continued their search through the mountainous area for the sixth consecutive day.
Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa also visited Air Force Station Jorhat to assess the ongoing search operation, on Saturday.
The transport plane with 13 people onboard, including eight crew and five passengers, took off from Jorhat Airbase in Assam for the Mechuka Advanced Landing Ground in the West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh but lost contact with the ground control at around 1 pm on June 3.
An IAF statement released last Thursday said that some family members of those on board the missing aircraft met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, where they were briefed about the search operation.
#IAF is in regular touch with families of missing air-warriors. All possible assistance is being provided to them. Some family members met Hon'ble RM on 6 June & were briefed about the #search efforts. AOC-in-C, EAC, Air Mshl RD Mathur had earlier met the families at Jorhat. 4/5— Indian Air Force (@IAF_MCC) June 7, 2019
The IAF has also been in regular touch with them.