With no trace of the missing Indian Air Force AN-32 aircraft, residents of a remote hamlet in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ramban district are praying for the safe return of the local boy Pritam Chand and other crew members who were on board the plane.
“We pray for the safety and security of our son of the soil and all crew members of the missing AN-32 aircraft. We feel that their son would return safe and sound,” Sarpanch of Papria Panchayat Uttam Singh said.
“We are going with a delegation to meet Deputy Commissioner of Ramban today. We will seek help from authorities and defence people to trace them,” Singh said.
The family has hardly got any update on the incident as their hamlet Karma Papdia is located in a remote forest, 40 km away from Ramban district headquarters.
Residents of this hamlet have been thronging the house of 24-year-old Airman Pritam Chand since the day the IAF aircraft went missing.
The family members of airman, particularly his father Hansraj and mother Dwarikho Devi though distraught, have not left the hope of their youngest son returning safe and sound.
The plane had gone missing during its flight from Chennai to Port Blair with 29 people on board on July 22. It had left the Tambaram air base near Chennai at 8.30 am on Friday and was supposed to land at Port Blair at around 11.45 am.
It fell off the radar at 9.12 am, 280 km east of Chennai.
The plane made the last radio contact at 8:46 am, 16 minutes after take-off, when the pilot reported that ‘everything is normal’.
IMAGE: A file photo of an Indian Air Force AN-32 transport aircraft carrying security personnel taking-off. Photograph: Amit Gupta/Reuters