11th Jun 2019 10:06:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Putting all speculations to rest, wreckage of the  IAF AN-32 aircraft that went missing with 13 people on board since June 3 last has ultimately been found in Payum Circle of Siang district. As per immediate reports it has been  spotted by a Mi-17 helicopter of IAF at a height of around 12,000 feet and efforts are now continuing to establish the status of occupants.
At this juncture, even if it will be worthy of commending the entire search operation efforts  there are also questions which have started pinching  about the logic behind the continuance of this particular aircraft which has earned a notoriety of  being accident-prone during the last decade. But these are entirely technical issues presumably with ‘for and against’ voices and needs to be examined and assessed by technical experts. Nevertheless , the united hunting efforts involving  men and sophisticated equipment  need a compliment which have at least ended the escalating concern  revolving  around the apprehension whether it will be found out at all  or not. It can be recalled that several aircrafts, jets,  ISRO satellites and unmanned drones were also involved in the search operations and teams from the Army, Navy and ITBP supported by night-time sensors and local people, worked  day and night during these last eight days with cash award announcement touching as high as five lakhs.  Difficulty level of the search is almost beyond  comprehension  because of the extreme tough terrain and bad weather and more particularly because  the spot where the plane had been flying is mountainous and heavily forested. And it is also beyond doubt that  landing and take-off at Mechuka is extremely difficult and  with  erratic weather always prevalent, the region  ranks among the world’s most inhospitable air transport zone.
But the questions that are being raised which will be too hard to avoid are, had there been any efforts to learn lessons from the past. It may be a weird coincidence, but it was same June, same  AN-32 with  same  number of   people (13)  on board heading to  Mechuka ALG  that faced tragedy in 2009. In July 2016, the aircraft’s  Andaman destination was a similar tragedy and till now no trace has been discovered. These haunting facts will  invariably  give birth to many ‘fact-finding missions’, but there are also news doing the rounds which suggest that there might be serious lapses on the maintenance and upgradation aspects.
As of now, it will be the onset of another round of anxiety till the actual status of the passengers are ascertained. In any case, it is high time to place AN-32 under scanner and take a final decision of its fate in the IAF fleet. Let it be the last tragedy of this kind. 

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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