Body of soldier aboard IAF's AN-12 aircraft, which crashed in 1968, found by climbers in Himachal Pradesh

On 1 July, mountaineers found the body of the soldier and debris of the AN-12 Indian Air Force flight that crashed near the Dakka glacier in 1968.

FP Staff July 21, 2018 20:31:19 IST
Body of soldier aboard IAF's AN-12 aircraft, which crashed in 1968, found by climbers in Himachal Pradesh

A group of mountaineers on a cleanup operation recently found the body of a victim of the 1968 Indian Air Force plane crash near the Dakka glacier base camp in Himachal Pradesh. According to reports, the group discovered the body on 1 July at the Chandrabhaga-13 peak. They also found scattered pieces of the aircraft that crashed, The Times of India reported.

The body recovered was of one of the 98 soldiers aboard the Indian Air Force's AN-12 BL-534 aircraft, which had mysteriously vanished on 7 February 1968. The aircraft was heading from Chandigarh to Leh when it went missing somewhere over Himachal Pradesh.

Body of soldier aboard IAFs AN12 aircraft which crashed in 1968 found by climbers in Himachal Pradesh

IAF Antonov AN-12 aircraft that is similar to the one that went missing in 1968. Wikimedia Commons: aeroprints.com

According to The Indian Expressthe aircraft was going to land in Leh when the control room directed it to turn back because of bad weather. But flight AN-12 mysteriously lost all contact with the ground force, on the way back, and vanished somewhere over the Rohtang Pass. Extensive search and rescue operations, which went on for months, yielded no results. As no remains were found and no distress call was received, the theory that AN-12 had crashed remained unsubstantiated.

However, the first sign of the aircraft or its passengers appeared in 2003 when a similar trekking party discovered bits of debris and another body, which was later identified to be of Indian Army soldier Beli Ram — one of the passengers on board the AN-12. The search that started after the discovery revealed that the flight had descended before it was supposed to land and had fallen into the Dakka glacier.

Rajeev Rawat, who led the expedition group that made the latest discovery, said that the team found the body of the soldier and some parts of the aircraft a few metres apart. The group alerted the Indin Army's High Altitude Warfare School on 16 July, which has started a search operation in the area, DNA reported.

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