GUWAHATI: The recovery of the mortal remains of 13 IAF personnel killed in the AN-32 transport aircraft crash in Arunachal Pradesh is turning out to be as difficult as locating the wreckage. A ground team of 20 personnel and civilians, which left for the crash site on foot on Tuesday, is yet to reach the spot, IAF sources said.
The team comprises four Garud commandos, four personnel from the Special Forces of Army, 11 porters and a civilian. Helicopters have not been able to fly due to bad weather. Two teams of 18 mountaineers have been holed out at the crash site in Siang district since June 12. The wreckage was spotted on June 11 and the next day, a team of 15 mountaineers was air-dropped near the crash site. Later, three more mountaineers joined the rescue team.
Shillong-based defence spokesman Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh said they were in touch with the mountaineers at the crash site.“The mountaineers, who reached the crash site, have been in touch with us through I-com and Sat phones. All are safe,” he said, adding, “Ration is not an issue”.
The IAF spokesman said retrieval operations require the steep mountainsides to be visible for the helicopters to safely hover close to the crash site and for the operating crew to be able to see the personnel on the ground.
The aircraft, which was flying to Mechuka near the China border in Arunachal’s Shi Yomi district with the 13 personnel on board, was reported missing 33 minutes after it took off from IAF’s base in Assam’s Jorhat on June 3. The Indian Air Force Thursday said all the 13 people on board the aircraft had died.
The aircraft with 15 IAF personnel on board went missing
The wreckage was spotted on the border of Siang and Shi Yomi districts on June 11
On June 12, 15 mountaineers were air-dropped near the crash site. Later, three more mountaineers joined