GUWAHATI: “Six bodies and seven mortal remains”, all of Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel who were killed in the An-32 transport aircraft crash in Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh on June 3, have been retrieved.
Official sources said the retrieved bodies and mortal remains were taken to Aalo, the district headquarters of West Siang.
Aalo was made the base camp for the search operation for the missing aircraft and the mission to retrieve the bodies of the 13 air warriors from the crash site.
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“Six bodies and seven mortal remains have been recovered from the crash site,” Shillong-based defence spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said on Thursday.
Shi Yomi Deputy Commissioner (District Magistrate), Mito Dirchi, told this newspaper that although the crash site was in Siang, one could reach there by passing through Shi Yomi district. Siang, West Siang and Shi Yomi are neighbouring districts.
“Defence personnel were involved in the retrieval of the mortal remains. The locals cannot do it as the crash site is located on a mountain slope and the route leading to it is perilous,” Dirchi said.
Two teams of 18 defence personnel and local mountaineers were air-dropped near the crash site on June 12, a day after the wreckage was spotted from an Army helicopter on June 11.
A third team of 20 people, including Garud commandos, personnel from Army’s Special Forces, porters and a local, had left for the crash site on foot two days ago. Dirchi said the team had not reached the crash site and would come back.
The Russian-make aircraft, which was flying to Mechuka near the China border in Shi Yomi district, was reported missing 33 minutes since it took off from IAF’s base in Assam’s Jorhat on June 3.