CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his counterpart in Haryana Manohar Lal Khattar expressed grief over the death of all 13 people onboard the AN-32 aircraft which crashed in Arunachal Pradesh.
After a team of rescuers searched the wreckage of the plane in a heavily forested mountainous terrain, the Air Force Thursday said that everyone on board the aircraft was dead.
"Extremely unfortunate and disheartening. I pay my tribute to all 13 air warriors whom we lost in the AN-32 crash. My deepest condolences to all family members of our bravehearts," Singh tweeted.
Khattar also expressed deep grief at the loss of lives in the incident and said he prayed for God to grant strength to the kin of the deceased.
Three Air Force personnel from Haryana and Punjab were killed in the crash. Flight Lieutenants Mohit Garg and Ashish Tanwar hailed from Samana in Punjab's Patiala district and Deeghot village in Haryana's Palwal district, respectively.
Airman Pankaj Sangwan was from Kohla village in Sonipat district. Earlier, the families of the three Air Force personnel were praying for their safe return since the aircraft went missing on June 3.
Mohit Garg,27 had got married a year ago and his wife was posted in a bank in Assam. His father Surinder Garg and uncle Rishi Garg had rushed to Assam after hearing the news of the missing aircraft.
Ashish Tanwar, 29, was married to Sandhya Tanwar, who was an air traffic control officer posted at the same IAF station from where the plane took off. The flight lieutenant last visited his village when he came to cast his vote on May 12 for the Lok Sabha elections.
The Russian-origin AN-32 aircraft was going from Jorhat in Assam to Menchuka advanced landing ground near the border with China when it lost contact around half-an-hour after taking off.
Its wreckage was spotted by an IAF chopper on Tuesday at a height of 12,000 ft near Gatte village on the border of Siang and Shi-Yomi districts, after eight days of a massive search operation involving a fleet of aircraft and choppers as well as ground forces.
A 15-member team of rescuers were sent look for survivors in the accident Wednesday and eight of them reached the crash site on Thursday morning.